Welsh rough sleeper count shows ‘support is vital’

Local authorities estimate an additional two people sleeping rough over the two-week period compared with the same time last year.

Homeless (6)

The Welsh Government has released their annual Rough Sleeper report.

The Rough Sleeper Count is an estimate of the number of people sleeping outdoors over a two-week period and over a one-night period in Wales.

According to findings, local authorities estimated that 347 persons were sleeping rough across Wales in the two weeks between 15th and 28th October 2018, an increase of less than 1% (2 persons) compared with the exercise in October 2017, with trends varying across authorities.

Authorities also reported 158 people sleeping rough on the night of the snapshot count, a decrease of 16%, or 30 people, on the previous year.

However, bad weather was reported across Wales on the night of the count, which may have affected figures.

Across Wales, there were 184 emergency bed spaces on the night of the snapshot count, of which 18% or 33 bed spaces were unoccupied and available.

In a statement on the release of reports, Housing and Local Government Minister Julie James said that one person sleeping on the streets is “one person too many”.

She added: “While we have to be cautious about these estimates, the number of people sleeping rough appears to be stabilising overall, and in some areas numbers appear to actually be decreasing.

“We are investing more than £30m this year and next year to prevent and tackle homelessness. We are committed to building more affordable housing and protecting our social housing stock.

“We will continue to trial the Housing First model in various pilots across Wales, supported by over £700,000 of additional funding. These projects are in their early days, but we are already seeing signs of success with people who have been sleeping rough for a long time supported into housing.

She continued: “I recently visited the Salvation Army Housing First project in Cardiff and met someone who has been successfully housed through the project.

“He told me about the dramatic difference it has made to his life and what it means to have his own home again.

“The reasons people find themselves sleeping rough can be complex and varied. We are committed to ensuring that everyone in Wales has a home that meets their needs.”

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