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    We are delighted with today’s announcement and would like to thank Ministers for listening to the views and expertise of people who use and deliver housing and support services in Wales.
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Cymorth and CHC welcome Welsh Government decision to safeguard homelessness and housing support funding

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Following the publication of today’s draft budget, Cymorth Cymru and Community Housing Cymru have praised Welsh Ministers for listening to the sector and taking the decision to safeguard funding for homelessness and housing-related support services in Wales.

Last year the Welsh Government outlined a proposal to merge ten government grants to create a new Early Intervention: Prevention and Support (EIPS) super-grant in 2019/20. This included housing programmes such as Supporting People and Homelessness Prevention Grant, as well as non-housing programmes such as Flying Start, Families First, and Communities First Legacy.

The housing sector raised significant concerns with this proposal, which would remove the ring-fence around Supporting People funding and risk diluting the focus on homelessness at a time when this should be a priority. The sector feared that NIMBYism could result in funds being diverted away from housing schemes for people experiencing homelessness, domestic abuse, mental health problems and learning disabilities. Social landlords also raised concerns that the removal of the ring-fence would reduce certainty for lenders and impact on their ability to develop supported accommodation.

In June 2018 Cymorth and CHC published the Housing Matters report, which suggested splitting the proposed EIPS super-grant into two, with one grant focused solely on housing. This would help the Welsh Government to reduce the number of grants from ten to two, while retaining the focus on housing and avoiding the risks outlined above. It would also provide an opportunity to take a more strategic approach to tackling homelessness. This proposal was supported by eight other national housing and support organisations, including Shelter Cymru, Welsh Women’s Aid, Tai Pawb, CIH Cymru, Rough Sleepers Cymru, EROSH South Wales, Housing Justice Cymru and End Youth Homelessness Cymru.

The National Assembly Public Accounts Committee also published a report which urged the Welsh Government to consider this alternative solution. At the start of the summer the Housing Minister Rebecca Evans AM gave the sector assurances that she would do so over the coming months.

In his draft budget statement this afternoon, the Cabinet Secretary for Finance Mark Drakeford announced the Welsh Government’s decision to take forward the two-grant approach and create a ring-fenced grant which would incorporate the Supporting People Programme, the Homelessness Prevention Grant and Rent Smart Wales Enforcement funding. This will come into effect from April 2019 and will remain in place for the remainder of this Assembly term.

Cymorth Cymru Director Katie Dalton said:

“We are delighted with today’s announcement and would like to thank Ministers for listening to the views and expertise of people who use and deliver housing and support services in Wales. Now more than ever, it is essential that we retain a sharp focus on homelessness and we are extremely pleased that funding will continue to be targeted at services that address this issue and support people to live independent and fulfilled lives.

“This announcement also gives us an opportunity to take a strategic approach to tackling homelessness and we are committed to working with the Welsh Government, local authorities and our members to encourage the development of high quality services that have the greatest impact on people’s lives.

“We stated in June that ‘tackling homelessness shouldn’t be party political’ and we are very grateful for the scrutiny and support provided by members from all of the main political parties.”

CHC Chief Executive Stuart Ropke said:

“At a time when budgets are tight and financial pressures are impacting on services, we are pleased Welsh Government has acted to protect funding for homelessness and housing related support in Wales. We have worked closely with our members, politicians and civil servants over the last year to develop a constructive alternative to previous proposals, and today’s announcement will be welcome news to all who joined us in the Housing Matters campaign.

“This decision will provide housing associations with greater stability and certainty to plan services for the long term, and allow us to work closely with Welsh Government to review and improve on current services.”

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© Cymorth Cymru 2018
Company Registration No: 5093332
Charity No: 1116774