The Homelessness Monitor: Wales 2017

Suzanne Fitzpatrick, Hal Pawson, Glen Bramley, Steve Wilcox, Beth Watts and Jenny Wood

This annual report for Wales funded by Crisis and JRF analyses the impact of economic and policy developments on homelessness, drawing on a survey of councils, statistical analysis and in-depth interviews.

The Homelessness Monitor: Wales 2017 shows that:

  • In the two years since the last report was published, the Housing (Wales) Act 2014 has been enacted and the findings in this report show very clearly what the impact has been.
  • The overwhelming consensus is that the new statutory homelessness framework ushered in by the act has had an array of positive impacts. The Housing (Wales) Act 2014 has helped to reorient the culture of local authorities towards a more preventative, person-centred and outcome-focused approach, which has meant a much-improved service response to single homelessness.
  • The official statistical returns bear this out, with almost two-thirds of households threatened with homelessness having it prevented and two-fifths of homeless households being relieved of homelessness.
  • However, rough sleeping is rising in Wales and it is universally recognised across the local authorities and stakeholders that rough sleepers have benefited least from the recent legislative changes. There is growing recognition that something needs to be done.
  • A substantial proportion of homeless applicants fall out of the system for failure to cooperate and there are still homeless people (mostly single and ‘non-priority’) who remain without a solution after all three stages of statutory intervention.
  • These, combined with the challenges of recent and forthcoming welfare changes, in particular the extension of Shared Accommodation Rate, mean there is anxiety amongst local authorities and stakeholders about how the legislative progress made might be undermined by wider structural issues. It is still early days for the new legislative framework. Criticisms of it focus on its implementation and acknowledge that is it still a ‘work in progress’ rather than any substantial objection.