Introduction

At the end of April 2015 the Welsh Government introduced major new homelessness legislation in Part 2 of the Housing (Wales) Act 2014. Among the reforms was the introduction of a statutory duty to help to prevent and relieve homelessness for all eligible households, which drastically increased the rights of households without a priority need to homelessness assistance.

This report summarises key trends in the first six months of homelessness data covering July to December 2015.

Main findings

  • Between July and December 3,605 households were assisted under the new prevention duty with a success rate of 64.8 per cent. The success rate for single households was only slightly lower at 57.6 per cent – a significant achievement for Welsh local authorities.
  • There were 3,695 homeless households assisted under the relief duty, with a success rate of 43.3 per cent.
  • Two in five homeless households who reached the end of the relief stage without a successful outcome had their homelessness successfully resolved via the final duty. This is a 76 per cent reduction on numbers found in priority need during the second half of 2014. A further two in five were found not to be in priority need and were excluded from assistance on that basis.
  • Intentional homelessness decisions are down 65 per cent. The majority of Welsh authorities are now using intentionality only rarely.
  • Seven per cent of assessed households had their duties brought to an end because of ‘unreasonably failing to cooperate’, mostly at prevention and relief stages. Including these households, 17.9 per cent of assessed households exited the system for a variety of reasons.
  • At the end of December there were 1,830 households in interim accommodation, a 14.9 per cent reduction on the previous year.
  • Numbers found not homeless have decreased only slightly from 39 per cent to 31 per cent. There are a number of reasons for this, including some authorities carrying out prevention work outside the Act without accepting a legal duty.

For a more in-depth description of the new legislation, see this briefing →