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Rapid rehousing: The future role of supported accommodation in Wales

Katie Dalton - Director, Cymorth Cymru

The Welsh Government has repeatedly set out its commitment to move towards rapid rehousing over the next five years, and local authorities are currently drafting their rapid rehousing transition plans. Significant transformation is anticipated and the response to homelessness may look very different in the future.

Embracing rapid rehousing requires a shift in mindset as well as service configuration. For example, people should be regarded as being ‘housing ready’ with the right support, rather than having to prove this in order to access housing. They should be able to access the right home in the right place for them; and an independent, mainstream home will be the default approach when someone experiences homelessness. While supported accommodation will remain an option, people who are currently referred to this type of service could choose to live in an independent, mainstream home (with support) in the new rapid rehousing landscape.

This obviously poses questions for the future role of supported accommodation in Wales. And there may be different answers to the questions for transitionary supported accommodation vs. permanent supported accommodation, or for different types of projects such as refuge, young people's accommodation or more generic projects. While any change will not happen overnight, we’re acutely aware of the sensitivities surrounding this issue. Supported accommodation has been a valuable part of homelessness and housing support provision in Wales, and providers across the country take huge pride in the support they have delivered to tens of thousands of people over the past few decades. There are also financial implications for organisations that have made significant capital investment in the buildings, as well as those in receipt of Housing Support Grant funding and housing benefit funding under this model.

It’s really important that any conversations about the future of supported accommodation involve the landlords and providers of these services, as well as people experiencing homelessness and using supported accommodation. And it’s time to embark on these discussions.

Over the next few weeks we will be setting the scene and providing space for supported accommodation providers to join the conversation, and influence the policy direction and decisions:

Learning from Scotland – Tuesday 10th May

Scotland embarked on its journey towards rapid rehousing a few years ago, and faced similar questions about the role of supported accommodation. At our online annual conference next week, we will be hearing from Maggie Brünjes, Chief Executive of Homeless Network Scotland. Maggie will share her experience of being part of an advisory group on this issue, including how this discussion was taken forward, what the key questions and considerations were, and what conclusions were reached. This will set the scene for our discussions with the sector over the coming weeks and months.

View the full programme and register for the conference here.

Starting the conversation – Thursday 26th May

On Thursday 26th May we will be holding a meeting of our National Housing Support Provider Network in partnership with Community Housing Cymru. At this meeting we will be starting the conversation with supported accommodation providers about the move to rapid rehousing, listening to you views, and starting to consider what this could mean for the role of supported accommodation in Wales. We will be joined by Simon Prothero and Carl Spiller from the Welsh Government’s Housing Policy Division, who are both involved in rapid rehousing policy development. Attendees at this Network are usually managers and/or senior leaders within their organisations.

Register for the Network meeting here.

 

I hope that lots of you can join us for these conversations over the coming weeks and months.

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© Cymorth Cymru 2022
Company Registration No: 5093332
Charity No: 1116774