The right support at the right time

Providing the right support at the right time to assist those threatened with or experiencing homelessness is at the heart of a new strategy to support Cardiff's vulnerable citizens.


Cardiff Council's Homelessness Strategy sets out the authority's vision for working with partners to prevent homelessness and ensure that the housing needs of people in the city are met by providing appropriate and timely help.


The four-year strategy has been developed to address the findings of a comprehensive review of current homelessness and advice services provided by the Council and its partners, focusing on the key themes of advice, prevention, accommodation and support. The review also gathered views from people who have used the services themselves.


Demand for homelessness services has increased significantly in Cardiff. Applications for assistance have rocketed by 68% since April 2015, with a 103% increase in the number of households threatened with homelessness.


The main causes of homelessness and the threat of homelessness are outlined in the strategy as financial issues, family breakdown, and complex issues resulting from Adverse Childhood Experiences that prevent people maintaining accommodation. Additional pressures have also been caused by the high costs and decreasing availability of private rented accommodation in the city. 


While services in Cardiff are preventing homelessness in a high number of cases, many people only seek help when it is too late.  The Council is committed to increasing the accessibility of services to prevent homelessness.  There is also a need to work with the most vulnerable people to address the underlying causes of homelessness, providing the right support at the right time.


The Council and its partners will work together to deliver the commitments set out in the Strategy. This will include providing more advice and homeless prevention services in the community through the Hubs and by home visits where necessary; improved support for private landlords and the development of a multi-agency approach to supporting individuals with complex needs.


Cabinet Member for Housing and Communities, Cllr Lynda Thorne, said: "There's some great work being done in the city toprevent and address homelessness but there is still more to do.


"Demand for our homelessness services is on the increase and despite early intervention work successfully preventing 73% of households who sought help from us from becoming homeless last year, the considerable pressures on our services continues.


"It's essential that people seek help from us as soon  as they feel the threat of being homeless as in many cases, we can provide the support and advice to prevent them from losing their homes.


"We know that alack of stable housing can impact on an individual's physical health, mental health and wellbeing, making it harder to find a job and maintain relationships. So by ensuring we have good quality housing solutions and assistance, we can provide the foundation on which people can begin to address their problems and achieve the best possible outcomes.


"The effects of homelessness can be far-reaching, not only for the individual but the city as a whole so, along with partners across the public, private and voluntary sectors, I am committed to addressing both the causes and impacts of homelessness and continuing to bring about effective change."


Cabinet will consider the 2018 - 2022 Homelessness Strategy at its next meeting on Thursday, December 13. They will also consider some amendments to the Cardiff Housing Allocation Scheme  to help address a number of findings in the homelessness review including reducing the length of time households spend in temporary accommodation and improving move on rates from hostels and supported housing projects.


Cabinet will also receive an update on the progress of implementing the city's 2017 - 2020 Rough Sleeper Strategy.