Highest homelessness figures recorded in Wales under new legislation

The number of households threatened with homelessness increased by 18% in 2018-19.

Homelessness - Rough Sleeper

Data on the number of households applying to local authorities for housing assistance under the Housing Wales Act has been revealed for April 2018 to March 2019.

According to Welsh government national statistics, the number of households threatened with homelessness increased by 18% in 2018-19 to 10,737.

This is said to be the highest annual number since the introduction of the current legislation in April 2015.

The report also revealed that the number of homeless households owed a duty to help secure accommodation increased by 4% since 2017-18 to 11,715 – the highest number since the introduction of the current legislation.

Of these, 41% were successfully helped to find accommodation during the year, the same percentage as the previous two years, despite the increasing numbers assessed as homeless.

Households that were eligible, unintentionally homeless, and in priority need increased by 18% to 2,631.

According to statistics, despite this increase, 80% (2,091 households) accepted an offer of settled suitable accommodation – higher than the 78% rate during 2017-18.

In terms of households recorded to be in temporary accommodations during this period, figures revealed an 8% increase on last year, totalling to 2,226 households – said to be the highest recorded figure since the legislations introduction last year.

The private rented sector continued to be the main type of accommodation used at 37% – with 294 households (13%) in temporary bed and breakfast accommodation.

Commenting on the figures, Matthew Kennedy, policy and public affairs manager at CIH Cymru, said: “Housing professionals within local authorities work tirelessly with partners in housing associations and the third sector in preventing homelessness, and it is hugely encouraging given this ballooning demand that the number of people for whom homelessness was prevented has increased.

“The fact that our use of temporary accommodation continues to be significant should keep us well grounded in the fact that there is some way to go in providing everyone with a safe, secure place to call home.

“We are working with partners in the sector as we explore embedding a basic right to adequate housing in Wales.

“In the meantime, it is vital the Welsh government continues to consider the support local authorities require to strengthen their ability to meet demand, and how support for private landlords who offer a vital contribution in this setting is increased to ensure tenancies are sustainable and tenants feel well-supported.”

Stuart Ropke, Chief Executive at Community Housing Cymru added: “Early support programmes are key to the work housing associations do to build relationships with their tenants, and vital to their commitment to reduce homelessness.

“Housing Associations have a vision for a Wales where good housing is a basic right for all, but there is a shortage of stable, affordable homes.

“To enable us to build the homes Wales desperately needs to tackle the homelessness crisis, and to continue offering these essential preventative services, we need to see ongoing investment from Welsh Government, particularly in housing related support funding.”

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