The Welsh Government have announced £700,000 of funding for homelessness projects in Wales as part of a £30m investment this year and next year to tackle homelessness and rough sleeping.

The investment includes:

  • £240,000 to extend the Conwy and Denbighshire Housing First pilot for the 2019-20 year;
  • Over £52,000 for Rhondda Cynon Taf council to extend their successful Housing First project supporting ex-offenders;
  • £68,000 for the Salvation Army to run a Housing First project in Merthyr Tydfil;
  • Over £548,000 for two projects to work closely in Cardiff. Funding will be used to continue a Housing First pilot run by the Salvation Army and for Cardiff Council to establish a new Housing First pilot, meeting demand locally.

Housing First is designed to support people who need significant levels of help to move away from homelessness. People receiving support are offered a place to live and then offered tailored, long term support to help enable them to manage a tenancy independently.

Julie James, Minister for Housing and Local Government said:

“Housing First can help people who are homeless and who often have complex needs including severe mental illness or mental health problems, problems with drug and alcohol abuse, poor physical health and a lack of a wider support network.

“Housing First is not the right approach for everyone who is homeless – there is still a need for supported housing and temporary accommodation, but it can play an important role in supporting people, particularly those who have been sleeping rough for a long time, to be able to sustain a tenancy.”

Housing First is designed to provide flexible support for as long as it is required. It focuses on what the individual needs to recover and be able to sustain a tenancy themselves.

Housing First Projects are designed to ensure that the individual has choice and control – they are actively encouraged to engage with support services such as mental health or substance abuse, but they are not required to do so in return for support.

She added:

“The cost, in terms of health, emergency services and police budgets, of supporting people while they are on the streets far outweighs the cost of addressing their homelessness. We aim to support the most vulnerable people in Wales, and Housing First is a sound investment that can save money, as well as lives, in the long term.”