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Homelessness figures April – June 2014

Figures published today show that the number of homelessness acceptances and applications both dropped during the quarter April to June 2014. The number of households accepted as homeless has been dropping since last April, but this is the first quarter since 2011-12 that the number of applications has dropped as well.

Previously, we have been very concerned about this growing disparity between applications and acceptances, which to us suggested that local authorities might be taking a harder approach. It is too soon to say whether the decrease in applications is the start of a trend or just a one-off blip, but as our recent research with CAB shows, many families in Wales are still under considerable financial pressure and it is unlikely that this will change overnight.

Source: http://wales.gov.uk/statistics-and-research/homelessness/?lang=en

Homelessness figures June 2014

The most recent homelessness figures published by the Welsh Government show a continuation of the trend of increasing numbers of people applying for help coupled with a drop in those actually accepted as homeless.

Since 2010-11, the percentage of applicants accepted as homeless has been falling on an annual basis with less than a third of applicants accepted (32 per cent) during 2013-14. Meanwhile, applicants deemed to be eligible for help but not homeless rose from around 30 per cent of all applications to 43 per cent in 2013-14.

As we’ve noted previously, this is a worrying trend. We hope that some of the fall in homelessness acceptances is due to better prevention work on the part of local authorities, but realistically this cannot account for it all.

The alternative is that local authorities are responding to cuts in their funding by adopting a more hardline approach to homelessness applications. We have seen examples in our casework of people not being given the help that they are entitled to that strongly suggests this is the case.

This rationing of resources is understandable but it is clearly not a solution; rather it just defers the inevitable, forcing people to the point of absolute crisis before they can get help.