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Can I get a home? Barriers to getting a private rented home in Wales

Mar 2022

Finding a private rented home in Wales has become increasingly difficult over the last few years, with rents increasing and overall demand for housing outstripping supply. Added to this is an insufficient supply of social housing that is contributing to increased competition for affordable private rented homes. This report provides the findings of a Shelter Cymru survey of private landlords in Wales which reveals barriers that some prospective tenants can face when trying to access private rented homes, which makes it even more difficult for them to find a home.

Fixing the broken foundations of student housing in Wales

Jan 2022

This report will examine the current landscape of student housing in Wales and make recommendations as to how we can work together to improve conditions and experiences for students across all parts of Wales. While these recommendations would go a long way towards improving the quality of student housing and housing more widely, we hope that this report and ongoing work begins the move to a fundamental reform of housing in Wales, which sees everyone receive the right to a good home.

The right to adequate housing in Wales: the evidence base

Dec 2021

The right to adequate housing is a fundamental human right derived from the right to an adequate standard of living. This fundamental human right is incorporated in legislation in countries such as South Africa and Canada and in the constitutions of other countries such as Finland. More recently, Scotland has been taking steps toward introducing this right in national legislation to ensure its progressive realisation and enforcement. In November 2021, the Co-operation Agreement between the Welsh Government and Plaid Cymru committed the Welsh Government to publishing a White Paper on proposals for introducing a right to adequate housing in Wales. Focusing on international comparisons – including examples from Finland, Canada and South Africa – the research, undertaken by Alma Economics, has found both good practice and valuable lessons across a range of approaches.

Broken foundations: Fix student housing

Nov 2021

For decades, student housing has been a byword for low quality. Being ripped off by dodgy landlords, living with broken appliances and having to put up with damp and mould are seen as part of student life, to be tolerated and left unchallenged. This report, commissioned by NUS Wales and carried out by Shelter Cymru unpicks some of the myths around students and their housing situations across the Welsh post-16 sector. It is based on a Wales-wide survey run by Shelter Cymru in May-June 2021. The findings help to paint a picture of students’ experiences in the 2020-21 academic year, giving us a better understanding of the issues students face when it comes to having a safe and secure home.

In this together: A guide for housing officers working remotely

Jul 2021

The Covid-19 pandemic has changed so much about the way we live our lives and initially brought unprecedented challenges and enforced changes to Welsh homelessness services. When the first UK-wide lockdown was announced in March 2020, staff were no longer able to work from their offices in their usual way and had to find new ways to work remotely with people in housing need. This toolkit was produced by Shelter Cymru’s Take Notice Project. It is designed to help support staff and service users while working remotely, either when government restrictions are put in place or because a blended form of working will remain the new normal for some organisations. It explores the challenges and opportunities of this new way of working.

Accessing and sustaining social tenancies: exploring barriers to homelessness prevention

Mar 2021

The prevention of homelessness has never been more important in Wales. Since the introduction of the Housing (Wales) Act 2014, no other nation, globally, has placed homelessness prevention on such a strong statutory footing. Following the recommendations of the National Assembly Public Accounts Committee, we explored the accessibility and sustainability of social housing and examined the impact of eviction from council and Registered Social Landlord (RSL) housing. The ultimate aim of our research is to prevent homelessness and promote good practice among social landlords by highlighting potential barriers to the prevention of eviction and by proposing solutions.

Report: Working together to end homelessness from social housing

Losing one’s home is a very significant event, and likely to be even more frightening and traumatic if it results in homelessness. Becoming homeless from social housing can be seen as a failure of housing and wider systems that aim to enable people, including vulnerable people, to live in safe and secure long term homes. This report is informed by the experiences of some people who have been very close to losing their social homes, and the work of social landlords and other organisations in helping to prevent homelessness from social housing.

Briefing paper: Discretionary Housing Payments: Good practice

Mar 2021

The Covid-19 pandemic has highlighted the importance of having a home as an essential place of safety. Discretionary Housing Payments (DHPs) are one of the most useful and flexible financial tools available to local authorities to help people to keep their place of safety and to prevent homelessness. Funding for DHPs is given to local authorities by the UK government, via the Department for Work and Pensions (DWP). This briefing outlines some lessons for effective use of DHPs. It is based on good practice we have evidenced through our housing advice casework, and through conversations with four Welsh local authorities that achieved particularly good results with DHPs.

Briefing paper: Life in lockdown in Wales

Nov 2020

Life in lockdown has been hard, but it has been much harder for some people than for others. Covid-19 has exposed huge inequalities in Welsh communities. It has shown how people on modest incomes have suffered the worst financial impacts, and how people in poor quality housing have been more exposed to the virus. It has shown how, for some people, home is not a safe space: domestic violence increased in lockdown, and some children and young people have been exposed to violence and abuse at home. This briefing paper presents data on people’s experiences of home during the initial lockdown period. It is based on a national YouGov online survey carried out towards the end of that period in July 20202. The timing of the survey allowed us to take into consideration many of the key policy changes relating to lockdown rules. These findings give us a better understanding of the lives of people during lockdown in Wales. Only from gaining this understanding can we prepare for the possibility of similar situations occurring in future.

Former tenant arrears: Good practice principles

Aug 2020

The Housing Quality Network found that across Wales in 2018, 993 applicants were excluded from social housing in six local authorities. Most landlords and authorities had no records of number and so, if the figure is extrapolated, it could mean over 3500 households were excluded in Wales. This paper describes good practice in helping people with former tenant arrears back into social housing.

Implementing the Housing (Wales) Act Act 2014: The role of homelessness reviews and litigation

Jun 2020

This report analyses the role of homelessness reviews in Wales since the implementation of the Housing (Wales) Act 2014. The research is based on data from FoI requests to local authorities and interviews with a range of stakeholders, detailing explanations of the law on homelessness reviews and the legal processes that must be followed.

Hwyl fawr to homelessness: How to end homelessness in Wales, by people with first-hand experience

Nobody understands homelessness better than those who have experienced it themselves. This report was recognised by the Homelessness Action Group, who worked to help ensure the Welsh Government heard recommendations on how to end homelessness that were grounded in lived experience.

Putting good homes at the core of the post-Covid recovery plan: A discussion paper by Homes for all Cymru for the Cross Party Housing Group

Jun 2020

Covid-19 has demonstrated the importance of a good home. From physical and mental health, to the ability to work and learn from home, the pandemic has exposed far reaching inequalities and a lack of investment in homes. Homes for all Cymru make the case for good homes to be central to the national recovery plan.

Allocation of social housing in Swansea

Jun 2020

This report offers a deep dive into the allocation of social housing in Swansea and the experiences of people who have been through their services. The report makes recommendations from moving away from ‘tenancy ready’ to creating opportunities for more direct engagement with the Move-On Panel.

End youth evictions: Stopping the cycle of youth homelessness

Nov 2019

In 2018, more than 3000 young people in Wales became homeless and had to use council homelessness services. This report explores experiences of young people and identifies the need for urgent change to realise the ambition of achieving zero evictions into homelessness.

Domestic violence and housing: Cross Party Housing Group briefing

Oct 2019

This briefing from Welsh Women’s Aid and Shelter Cymru highlights three key areas where a joined-up response from the housing sector, VAWDASV specialists and the Welsh Government is needed to improve outcomes for for some of the most vulnerable and under-supported survivors of gender-based violence.

The impact of Universal Credit on people’s housing situation in Wales: Briefing for MPs

Sep 2019

This briefing for MPs from Shelter Cymru illustrates the impact of Universal Credit on people’s housing situations and homelessness in Wales, supported by a range of case studies.

Response to the Welsh Government consultation on extending the notice period for a no-fault eviction

Sep 2019

Shelter Cymru’s response to the Welsh Government’s consultation on extending the notice period for “no-fault evictions.” Our response drew upon our own experience and expertise as well as 114 survey responses from a range of sector stakeholders.

Homelessness among trans people in Wales

Jul 2019

At the time of publication, this report was one of the very few pieces of evidence on homelessness and trans people. We spoke to 25 trans people across Wales who had lived experience of homelessness, to understand their experiences and what support services are lacking in being able to tackle homelessness for the trans community.

The right to adequate housing in Wales: Feasibility report

Jun 2019

On the second anniversary of the tragedy of Grenfell Tower, this report looks at why the case for a right to adequate housing being enshrined in Welsh law is important, now more than ever.

A new way to evaluate homelessness services: introducing the Equal Ground Measure

Jun 2019

This is a guide to Shelter Cymru’s Equal Ground Measure. The Measure is a new way for councils to understand users perceptions of homelessness services, shaped by the involvement of over 100 people with lived experience of homelessness.

Discretionary Housing Payments: Good practice briefing

Feb 2019

This briefing outlines lessons for effective use of the Discretionary Housing Payment pot in Wales, which is awarded to Welsh councils by the UK Government annually. Shelter Cymru’s Waste Not Want Not campaign has helped over recent years to encourage councils to use full allocations, before money is returned to Westminster.

Response to the Welsh Government consultation: Review of affordable housing supply in Wales

Sep 2018

Providing enough affordable rented homes in Wales is the biggest issue facing this and the next generation of people who cannot buy. This response to the Welsh Government’s consultation identifies ways to increase supply of affordable housing but also improve affordability within existing stock.

Avoiding unneccessary evictions amongst social tenants

This briefing makes the case for raising minimum standards in the way in which social landlords work with their tenants who may be at risk of eviction.

Trapped on the streets: Understanding rough sleeping in Wales

Street homelessness in Wales is an increasingly visible and pressing issue. Evidence suggests that 2017-18 saw an increase in rough sleeping of 10%. This report takes accounts from 100 rough sleepers across Wales as well as a range of professional views to develop a raft of solutions.

Response to the National Assembly for Wales’ Equality, Local Government and Communities call for evidence on the general principles of the Renting Homes (Fees etc) (Wales) Bill

Jun 2018

Since 2016’s “Letting Go” campaign, Shelter Cymru has been calling fora ban on tenants fees and voicing concern on the lack of transparency in agents’ fee policies. This response welcomes moves by the Welsh Government to commit to banning fees, but also highlights aspects of the Renting Homes (fees etc) (Wales) Bill which should be strengthened.

From intention to action: Strategies for avoiding intentional homelessness decisions

Nov 2017

The idea that people might make themselves homeless “intentionally” has been a source of fierce debate for decades. This guide aims to explore prevention strategies that can be employed in the absence of intentionality powers. We hope this guide sparks ideas for ending intentionality for families and, in the long run, for all.

Improving the stability of privately rented homes

Jul 2017

This briefing makes the case for increasing the security of private renters by ending “no fault” evictions, or Section 21 evictions. The second half of the 20th century has seen a demographic shift in the PRS away from young professionals and childless couples - yet the legislative framework has not kept pace with this change.

Living home standard

Jun 2017

The Living Home Standard brings to life what the public perceive we should all be able to expect our homes to provide. Shelter worked with Ipsos MORI and British Gas to engage the public and build a range of statements which form the Living Home Standard - an objective benchmark across five dimensions.

Working with vulnerable private tenants: Sound advice from experienced landlords

May 2017

This is a short guide to give private landlords in Wales information on how to work with tenants who may be vulnerable, or on low incomes. This guide has been developed with input from experienced private landlords who have been working successfully with vulnerable tenants for many years.

Response to the Welsh Government’s consultation on temporary exclusions from supported accommodation

Apr 2017

This response to the Welsh Government’s consultation details Shelter Cymru’s concern regarding proposed approaches to temporary exclusions with other areas of Welsh Government policy. Specifically the long-stated aim of ending the need to sleep rough.

Reasonable steps: Experience of homelessness services under the Housing (Wales) Act 2014

Jan 2016

In April 2015 the law on homelessness in Wales changed in a number of important ways. The Housing (Wales) Act 2014 placed a new duty on local authorise to carry out ‘reasonable steps’ to prevent or relieve homelessness for all eligible households. This research finds variability in approaches both between and within local authorities, with clear examples of good practice and areas for improvement.

Equal Ground Standard; A guide to the service user standard for Welsh homelessness services

Nov 2015

The Equal Ground Standard is a tool for embedding person-centred principles in frontline homelessness services, developed by service users themselves.

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