Ten lessons based on emerging findings from Shelter Cymru casework
At the end of April this year, Wales introduced its own distinct way of dealing with homelessness. The Housing (Wales) Act 2014 created new duties for local authorities to help prevent homelessness for anyone who asks for help.
The philosophy of this new approach is based on partnership working with other agencies and with people facing homelessness. The aim is to involve people in designing their own solutions, looking not just at immediate housing problems but also at any underlying issues, intervening early wherever possible to prevent people’s situations escalating out of hand.
At the same time the Housing Act created other major changes in the rights of people facing homelessness, by removing automatic priority need for prison leavers, and allowing local authorities to discharge homelessness duties with an offer of private rented accommodation without the consent of the applicant.
Agencies are being encouraged to work together rather than in opposition. Independent advisers are being brought closer into some local authority teams, while social landlords have new legal duties to cooperate in the prevention of homelessness.
These are fundamental changes. Inevitably it will take time to embed new ways of working. However, it is crucial that people facing homelessness should not have to suffer poor service because their housing crisis happens to fall during a period of transition.
This report looks at how services have responded in the critical first two months. It draws on Shelter Cymru casework evidence to define ten learning points to show where things have worked well and where there is room for improvement. Our aim is to highlight good practice and nip poor practice in the bud, to ensure that services are delivered in the spirit of the 2014 Act.
If you’d like to discuss this work further, please contact Jennie Bibbings, Campaigns Manager, at [email protected]