Housing and Local Government Minister Julie James has launched a consultation on the draft Practice Guidance for the Housing Support Grant (HSG), which sets out the governance framework for local authorities to operate and administer the grant.
According to James, the HSG is an early intervention grant programme which prevents people from becoming homeless, stabilises their housing situation, or helps potentially homeless people to find and keep accommodation.
It also supports vulnerable people to address problems such as debt, employment, tenancy management, substance misuse, violence against women, domestic abuse and sexual violence, and mental health issues – helping some of Wales’s “most vulnerable people” live independently in their own home or supported housing.
The HSG came into being in April following the Welsh government’s Funding Flexibilities project aimed at bringing together several grants, strengthen the ability of local authorities and their partners to deliver preventative services, and to allow local authorities greater flexibility.
A Ministerial decision was made in October 2018 to form two grants from the Early Intervention, Prevention and Support Grant (EIPS), separating the housing-related grants from non-housing elements for all local authorities.
Consequently, from April 2019, the Welsh government established a Children and Communities Grant (encompassing Flying Start, Families First, the Legacy Fund, Promoting Positive Engagement for Young People, St David’s Day Fund, Communities for Work Plus and Childcare and Play), and a single Housing Support Grant (encompassing Supporting People, Homelessness Prevention and Rent Smart Wales Enforcement).
In line with expectations of the Wellbeing and Future Generations (Wales) Act 2015, a co- productive approach has been undertaken to develop the appropriate administrative, governance, planning, and monitoring arrangements for the HSG.
Engagement has since been completed with key stakeholders to consider proposals, which is said to have fed into the guidance document being consulted on today (7th October).
The consultation will run until 29th November and will consider feedback from stakeholders and interested parties.