A new report released on 8 March 2023 from the Senedd Local Government and Housing Committee looks at the challenges facing homelessness services in Wales.
They found that services are extremely stretched due to record high levels of demand, particularly for temporary accommodation and support.
The latest official figures from Welsh Government (from December 2022) show that 9,247 people were in temporary accommodation, with more new presentations than successful move-ons each month.
The reality is, there are insufficient suitable homes for people in the homelessness system, and the Welsh Government must work with local authorities, housing associations and private sector landlords to rapidly increase supply.
The Wallich provided both written evidence and our Policy and Public Affairs Coordinator, Thomas Hollick, provided oral evidence to the inquiry.
We welcome the 24 recommendations made to Welsh Government, which we hope they will accept and implement.
Some of the recommendations which are particularly relevant to our work at The Wallich include:
Welsh Government should review how local authorities ensure people staying in temporary accommodation are kept informed of their ongoing status, including how long it might be before permanent accommodation becomes available.
Welsh Government should urgently explore what can be done to improve standards in temporary accommodation.
Welsh Government should take every opportunity to ensure all public services are working in partnership to prevent homelessness.
Welsh Government must increase the allocation for the Housing Support Grant at the earliest opportunity, taking into account the high level of inflation and the demand for homelessness services.
Welsh Government should set out what steps it is taking to influence the UK Government to increase the Local Housing Allowance rate to at least the 30th percentile of local market rents.
Welsh Government should explore all possible options for increasing the availability of one-bedroom accommodation in appropriate locations.
Welsh Government should set out what data it collects on social housing vacancies, including the time taken to re-let properties when they become vacant.
Our staff do incredible work in projects right across Wales, supporting people in all parts of the homelessness system:
All our services remained open throughout the pandemic, but high demand for services mean that investment is needed now more than ever.
In their budget for 2023/24, Welsh Government have frozen funding for the Housing Support Grant (HSG). However, we believe an uplift is urgently needed to improve pay levels for staff as they continue to provide vital support for those most in need.
We are in the process of transitioning services towards a rapid rehousing model in Wales, where everyone presenting is assumed to be ‘tenancy-ready’ provided they have the right support, and will be placed straightaway into a new home.
We at The Wallich are fully supportive of this approach. However, until there are more new suitable homes in the social and private rental sectors, there will be a continuing need to invest in temporary accommodation.
The transition to rapid rehousing is possible, but it requires investment and a focus on partnership working in order to make it a reality for people experiencing homelessness in Wales.