£10 million emergency support for rough sleepers in Wales during coronavirus outbreak
The Welsh Government is making £10 million available to councils in Wales to help them to take immediate and direct action to protect the homeless and rough sleepers in the face of the coronavirus pandemic, Housing Minister Julie James has confirmed.
The additional funding will enable local authorities to secure the accommodation needed to ensure those without a home can be protected, supported, and isolated if necessary.
This could include the block purchase of B&B or hotel rooms, empty student accommodation and other premises to operate alongside existing provision. This provision will need to be managed and supported by the professionals working in this sector to ensure high quality support, hygiene standards and appropriate monitoring for symptoms and illness.
In addition, Ministers are also taking action to ensure those who have no recourse to public funds, such as victims of domestic abuse and asylum seekers, are supported during the outbreak.
The law currently prevents Ministers from offering these individuals certain types of support, including housing support. Local authorities have been directed to utilise alternative powers and funding to assist those who require shelter and other forms of support during the pandemic. This will ensure they are supported to stay safe and well.
Housing Minister Julie James said:
The coming weeks and months will be extremely difficult for us all, but for those who do not have the security of a place to call home and for those who work tirelessly to support them, this will be a particularly testing time. Many may not have access to the facilities that enable them to adhere to public health guidance on hygiene or isolation.
The £10 million in financial support I am announcing today will ensure people who are, or are at risk of, sleeping rough, and those who are in inadequate temporary accommodation, have the support and resources needed to protect themselves during the outbreak.
We are also taking action to ensure everyone in Wales, regardless of their immigration status, can be supported to remain safe and well during this time.
I will do everything in my power to ensure that artificial barriers to doing the right thing are removed so that collectively we can respond swiftly and flexibly to this unprecedented situation.
Deputy Minister and Chief Whip, Jane Hutt said:
Coronavirus and the need for social isolation is putting real pressure on all of us in Wales, but especially the most vulnerable, including victims and survivors of domestic abuse, those with no recourse to public funds, and those who are homeless.
At times like these our strong community, public services, and third sector partners across Wales are a huge asset. It is vital that our vulnerable citizens are wholly supported during these unprecedented times.
One size doesn’t fit all where benefits and provision is concerned, so I’m delighted that this new financial support will enable local authorities to provide the secure and supported shelter needed by those who don’t have a safe place to call home.
Councillor Andrea Lewis (Swansea), WLGA Spokesperson for Housing said:
Councils have key roles, alongside our partners, in supporting the most vulnerable in our communities and ensuring public protection. Safe and secure accommodation is vital if everyone is to have the opportunity to access good hygiene facilities and support.
We welcome the additional funding which will be used flexibly alongside existing resources to ensure that we can make more accommodation available which is suitable and secure, providing options to the most vulnerable in ways that reflect local needs.
The housing and third sector has welcomed the £10 million emergency support. Stuart Ropke, Chief Executive of Community Housing Cymru said:
Nobody should be without warm and safe shelter. On a daily basis, housing associations work tirelessly to ensure people have access to the services and support they need, and in a crisis, it's crucial this is made as quick and simple as possible.
We welcome Welsh Government’s plans to ensure councils have the funding and power to support people, whatever their circumstance, during this uncertain and highly difficult time.
Katie Dalton, Director of Cymorth Cymru said:
We really welcome the additional funding to help secure accommodation and support for people experiencing homelessness, violence and domestic abuse, including those with no recourse to public funds.
It is essential that people in the most vulnerable positions are protected during this pandemic and have the ability to self-isolate. We hope this funding enables people without a home to access the safe accommodation, hygiene facilities and support they need.
The homelessness and housing support sector is working incredibly hard to ensure that people continue to receive support. This funding will be very helpful and we hope that further progress on testing and access to childcare will enable support staff to continue to meet the challenges ahead.
This funding will form part of a wider support package for local authorities. Ministers will announce further details on this in the coming days.
The Welsh Government is also ensuring existing funding can be used flexibly and effectively to support important work at a local level to meet the COVID-19 challenge. Officials will be writing today to local authorities setting out how they can maximise the Housing Support Grant and Children and Communities Grants to best meet local needs.
Further information on how the Welsh Government is dealing with the outbreak can be found at www.gov.wales/coronavirus
Latest News from
“We have to take action now” – Minister launches Welsh Government’s Clean Air Plan for Wales to improve air quality06/08/2020 16:05:00
The Welsh Government has today (Thursday, August 6) outlined the measures it will take to improve the country’s air quality under its Clean Air Plan for Wales: Healthy Air, Healthy Wales.
First Minister of Wales Mark Drakeford and Secretary of State Simon Hart chair Coal Tips Summit06/08/2020 11:05:00
First Minister of Wales Mark Drakeford and Secretary of State Simon Hart, recently (04 August 2020) convened the second Coal Tips Summit since the Tylorstown landslip during the February floods this year.
Ministers announce £800m stabilisation package for Welsh NHS06/08/2020 09:05:00
Welsh Ministers yesterday announced a new £800m stabilisation package to help the Welsh NHS to continue to respond to and recover from the impact of the coronavirus crisis.
North Wales and Cross-Border Manufacturing Summit held05/08/2020 16:05:00
A high level summit of leaders in manufacturing focusing on north Wales and the cross border area was yesterday convened by Economy and north Wales Minister Ken Skates.
Relaxation of Discretionary Assistance Fund rules extended05/08/2020 14:05:00
The Welsh Government has agreed to continue the relaxation of the Discretionary Assistance Fund (DAF) rules until 31 March 2021.
Coronavirus: New measures on when to seek medical advice05/08/2020 11:05:00
The Health Minister Vaughan Gething is urging anyone isolating at home with COVID-19 to contact 111 or their GP if their symptoms don’t improve after seven days or if they experience breathlessness or vomiting, or if fatigue stops them doing their normal daily activities.
Economic Resilience Fund provides critical support to Wrexham-based manufacturer05/08/2020 09:05:00
Welsh Government’s bespoke Economic Resilience Fund (ERF) is providing crucial support to protect jobs at an important employer in Wrexham, Economy and north Wales Minister Ken Skates has announced.
Childcare Offer for Wales to reopen04/08/2020 14:05:00
Wales’ Childcare Offer providing 30 hours of early education and care to the working parents of 3 and 4 year olds across Wales is set to reopen, Deputy Minister for Health and Social Care Julie Morgan has announced today.
Minister announces extra £22.7m to help adult social care sector04/08/2020 09:05:00
Health and Social Services Minister Vaughan Gething has announced £22.7m in extra funding to help meet the additional costs adult social care providers are incurring as a result of the COVID-19 pandemic.
‘We must seize the opportunity of record levels using technology to learn Welsh in lockdown,’ urges Eluned Morgan at virtual Eisteddfod AmGen03/08/2020 14:05:00
Welsh Language Minister Eluned Morgan has urged record numbers of digital Welsh learners to take part in this year’s virtual Eisteddfod AmGen.