Welsh government launches action plan to end homelessness

Climate Change Minister Julie James will launch the Welsh government’s new ‘Ending Homelessness Action Plan’ in the Senedd later today.

The Minister will also announce a new £30m funding pot for local authorities over five years to tackle homelessness.

The funding will be used to lease properties from private landlords in return for a rent guarantee and additional funding to improving the condition of the property, under the Private Rented Sector Leasing Scheme.

Local authorities can then use these properties to provide affordable housing for people at risk of homelessness, with tenants benefitting from long-term tenures of between five and twenty years and support to stay in their home, such as mental health or debt advice.

The Minister met with Jonathan Lewis, 42, from Swansea, who experienced huge challenges in childhood and found himself sofa surfing for extended periods of his life, but now lives in a good quality affordable home after receiving a network of support.

Jonathan said: ‘The last few years have been the hardest and most rewarding I have ever had. I’ve never had a house, I’ve never had my own property – it’s given me the push I needed – it’s given me something I don’t want to lose. Someone has put that trust in me, that I’m worthy enough to have something decent in life.

‘I pinch myself that I’ve come from a bedsit to something so beautiful. I used to sofa surf or sleep in my car, but now I have my own home. And I pay for this with the money I earn. It makes me really proud. I keep it spotless! In my new job I support people in the situation that I’ve also been in, to show them that life can be different and here’s how to make it better. I just want to help people like I’ve been helped.’

Minister for Climate Change Julie James added: ‘Meeting Jonathan today – who really is an inspiration – just shows the importance to every-one of a decent, affordable and stable home. As well as all the hard work Jonathan has put in, services have worked together to give him the support he needs. This means Jonathan is now in a good position to provide this support to others facing hardship and potential homelessness.

‘I want to say thank you again for the extraordinary work of those working in homelessness and housing support services across local authorities, registered social landlords and the third sector. Each and every day they work to help and support those without a home.  They transform lives, they offer hope and they have undoubtedly saved many lives throughout this pandemic. They should be proud of all they have done and continue to do. My priority now is to build on our successes to prevent homelessness and ensure that when it does, it is rare, brief and unrepeated.’

In related news, keyworkers in Derbyshire are the first to benefit from the government’s First Homes scheme, which offers homes at a discount of at least 30% of the market price to local first-time buyers and keyworkers.

Photo supplied by the Welsh government


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