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Evidencing the Impact of the Housing Support Grant

Our Research Officer Gareth Lynn Montes shares some thoughts on the report he co-authored into the financial and human impact of the Housing Support Grant

After two years of detailed research and powerful testimony, our report is finished: 'Evidencing the Impact of the Housing Support Grant in Wales'.

I began working on this project in January 2019. This was my first job straight after university and I had not even finished my Master's dissertation. I had had the job interview a few weeks earlier, only a few hours after getting off a plane from Houston, Texas, where I'd been living and studying.

Whilst I had always been concerned about homelessness and housing issues, my main areas of interest were international politics, military history and constitutional arrangements in stateless nations. However, soon after starting work at Cymorth, I understood that housing and homelessness would be a new passion.

I began working from what seemed like a short and mysterious description of what my work would entail – "research which results in a report that evidences the human and financial impact of homelessness and housing-related support services to a variety of public services in Wales, therefore strengthening the case for Supporting People funding to be protected nationally and locally." Behind these words I soon discovered a world of compelling human lives and crucial support work taking place.

That same month, we ran some events where we had conversations with people using these services – experts by experience – where I got to meet for the first time the people who benefitted from the funding and appreciate how much of a difference it could and did make.
Housing Support Grant services, formerly the Supporting People Programme, helps some of the most vulnerable people in society to live a dignified and independent life.

Among others they include prison leavers, those with addiction issues, disabilities, mental health issues and people fleeing domestic abuse. For some, it has allowed them to reconnect to their families after a long time apart, to live under a roof for the first time in years or to find a job that restores their independence. For others, it has been the difference between life and death.

After a few months surrounded by literature and ethics applications, I finally got round to the bit of the project I was most looking forward to: speaking to the people using SP funded services. I had the privilege of speaking to more than a hundred people in support throughout this project. Their willingness to share what support has meant and done for them has allowed this project to be completed. In more cases than not, this has meant them sharing very painful experiences and reliving traumatic moments.

Although the chosen survey method was unable to fully capture everyone's experiences and stories, I hope we have done justice to them.
The final report shows that Housing Support Grant services have a positive financial impact, costing less money than the alternatives.. But also, and more importantly for me personally, it also has a positive human impact and it changes lives for the better.

With the Senedd elections coming up in May 2021, it is of prime importance that as a sector, we campaign for every party to commit to, at the very least, maintain the money allocated for the Housing Support Grant but ideally to increase it. Support saves.

I wish to thank Alma Economics for providing the data for the financial impact, the team from Cardiff Metropolitan University (Marc Fury and Dr Helen Taylor) who co-authored the report, the team at Cymorth for their support throughout, the team managers and support workers who helped in coordinating the surveys and were kind enough to allow me to use their facilities, drive me around and share their own experiences, and more importantly, those who I surveyed for granting me the time to talk to them.

The full report will be published on our website and launched at our webinar.

Join our webinar this Thursday for a fuller discussion of this vital work by Gareth along with the other members of the research team – Marc Fury and Dr Helen Taylor of Cardiff Metropolitan University.

 

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© Cymorth Cymru 2020
Company Registration No: 5093332
Charity No: 1116774