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09 December 2019

New report shines a light on the impact of funding cuts for support services in Wales

We have collaborated with Cymorth Cymru and Welsh Women’s Aid to launch the ‘Housing Matters’ report today.

The report shows funding for housing support services in Wales were cut by £37million* between 2012 and 2018, and shines a light on the impact this has had on local authorities, the third sector and social landlords.

The significant reduction in funds means that crucial homelessness prevention and housing services have now reached a ‘tipping point’.

With a week to go before Welsh Government publish its 2020/21 draft budget on Monday 16th December, we are calling for increased funding for the Housing Support Grant, which delivers homelessness prevention and housing-related support services in Wales.

The Housing Support Grant allocates Welsh Government funding specifically for preventing homelessness and supporting people to live independently. Every year it funds services that help more than 60,000 people to avoid homelessness, escape abuse, live in their own homes and thrive in their communities.

With UK political party’s general election spending promises likely to result in an increased funding pot for Wales, there are now strong calls for some of this to be directed at services that are a lifeline for thousands of Welsh people.

Katie Dalton, Director of Cymorth Cymru said:

“Our members have been working extremely hard over the past few years to make savings and continue to deliver high quality support services across Wales. However, we fear that we have reached a tipping point and additional investment is critical to ensure that people experiencing or at risk of homelessness can get the support they need. The internationally acclaimed model ‘Housing First’ also needs to be expanded, but this requires extra investment to make this a reality.”

Stuart Ropke, Chief Executive of Community Housing Cymru said:

“Housing associations in Wales provide over half of the supported accommodation needed to help people out of homelessness. Last year, the Housing Support Grant enabled us to deliver vital services across Wales to support people to manage their tenancies and prevent homelessness. As well as these services, we are working to ensure that no one becomes homeless as a result of leaving social housing.

“To support our work, we are calling on Welsh Government to invest in the Housing Support Grant, so that we can continue delivering the scale and quality of services needed to end homelessness.”

Eleri Butler, Chief Executive of Welsh Women’s Aid said:

“This grant provides our members with critical funds to provide lifesaving and life changing support for survivors of domestic and sexual abuse, but we are now seeing significant increases in referrals to specialist support in many areas, without accompanying increases in funding. So it’s not surprise that our national data shows survivors of abuse being held on waiting lists or increasing numbers turned away from refuge when they need help, due to lack of resources and capacity.

Although Welsh Government committed to deliver secure, sustainable funding for specialist services in its 2016 National Strategy, we’ve yet to see this become reality. Domestic abuse alone costs public services and communities £66 billion a year in England and Wales, so it’s not unreasonable that we invest a sufficient portion of this cost to save lives, to build the capacity of specialist services, and deliver a national commitment that no one is turned away from specialist support in Wales when they need it most.”