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10 year plan to tackle homelessness in Wales announced
The plan aims to prevent people from becoming homeless and to improve the accommodation and services provided for people who lose their homes.
Deputy Minister for Housing, Jocelyn Davies, said:
Over the next decade I want to see homelessness reduced to a minimum in Wales. I want to ensure that everyone can access the help they need, when they need it and at the earliest possible opportunity.
This plan is about changing the way services are delivered so that they can respond flexibly and at a much earlier stage to support individuals and families to avoid homelessness. This means all parts of the public sector in Wales – the Assembly Government, local authorities, housing providers, the health service, welfare, employment and education services– working together to do all they can to help those at risk from homelessness. I want to see any barriers between these organisations broken down so we are doing all we can in a joined up way.
Housing and related services need to be widely promoted and easy to access. All services should be working together to help people before they become homeless, providing them with available options.
Ms Davies said that the launch Homelessness Plan is timely. The economic slowdown and credit crunch is already having an impact on the housing market and services need clear direction to respond flexibly and quickly to support people in danger of becoming homeless. The plan will be subject to continuous review to ensure services are doing all that they can to respond to the changing social and economic climate.
The Assembly Government wants to reduce homelessness to a minimum by 2019. Prevention of homelessness is central to the approach. The plan aims to identify people at risk at the earliest opportunity.
Putting people first and at the centre of action to deliver improved services is key to the strategy. People usually find themselves on the brink of being made homeless for a number of reasons.
- Violent and non-violent breakdown of relationships
- Carers having no security of tenure
- Poor housing conditions and overcrowding
- Financial hardship that lead to evictions for rent arrears or repossessions for mortgage arrears
- Lack of capability to sustain accommodation – through illness, substance abuse, disability, young or old age
- Discharge from prison, care, hospital or armed forces
After the consultation an Action Plan will be launched in 2009 which will set out how the vision of the plan will be delivered.
Rough sleeping will be tackled through a range of outreach, drop-in and accommodation based services being delivered by housing, healthcare, employment and support service providers.
The key elements of the strategy are:
Preventing homelessness before it happens
Providing easy to access housing advice
Minimising mortgage repossessions
Helping rough sleepers
The Assembly Government will also review the effectiveness of the existing legal framework in order to meet the needs of the people at risk of homelessness.