Why is Housing Matters Wales important?
With only four days to go until the Wales-wide Housing Matters Wales Day of Action, now’s good a time as any to share my thoughts on Supporting People and the Housing Matters campaign.
There’s a proposal to merge Supporting People funding with nine other grants to form the Early Intervention: Prevention and Support grant. This is concerning as flexible funding could result in Supporting People funds being spent on projects outside of homelessness and housing related support. We’ve seen in England that without a strong focus and a ring-fence, Supporting People budgets have been diluted and therefore front line services have been diminished.
The Housing Matters report, which has been developed by CHC, Cymorth Cymru and eight other national housing and support organisations offers an alternative solution. In place of the proposed EIPS grant, we propose two grants streams, with one combining four housing related grants, including Supporting People into a homelessness and housing-related support grant. I believe it’s a fair compromise that still enables Welsh Government to streamline the many grants they have to administer while maintaining a clear focus on homelessness and housing.
Why do we need to protect the Supporting People programme?
Last year, my colleague Rebecca wrote about the positive impact Supporting People is having on people’s lives, including Ashley who is being supported by Cadwyn Housing Association’s Nightingale House.
Supporting People provides housing related support to 60,000 people in Wales. Through the fund, people including those who have experienced abuse, are living with mental health conditions, or who have substance misuse problems can live independently with help from the support offered.
We know providing a safe and secure home for people helps to prevent domestic abuse, reduces re-offending and substance misuse. It supports often marginalised people to re-access education, volunteering, training and work opportunities, and through their own social enterprises.
Every £1 invested in Supporting People, delivers £2.30 of savings to other sectors such as housing, health, social care and community safety services.
In a nutshell, it enables people to improve their lives.
This is why the Day of Action is so important.
It is our chance to tell those in charge of the purse strings about the role Supporting People funded services are playing in empowering people to live independently. It’s our opportunity to show them the important life changing projects that could be cut if funding was diluted, or lost, and the consequential strain this would have on other services.
Here’s a few ideas to get involved this week:
- Write to your local and regional AMs; tell them about your schemes and projects – invite them along for a tour! Make sure they know what they’re voting for when it comes to the merging of grants
- Be as loud and as active as you can on social media; share pictures, videos and stories about your schemes and the people who have been supported by them
- Share stories with your local newspapers – stories about real people can bring to life what your project is doing for local communities
- Use the hashtag #housingmatterswales to join the online conversation
As Serena Jones, Homes and Services Director at Coastal HA points out in her blog, we need to dare to be more ambitious and strive for better services – not to just amble along on the status quo. And only with stable, reliable funding in place, can we really be innovative and explore new ways of working.
Download the campaign materials for the Day of Action and show your support by clicking here.