Homelessness Report: 'Long Term Action Needed'

It's claimed homelessness in Wales could rise by a third in next five years.

5,100 households across Wales and nearly 160,000 across Britain are experiencing the worst forms of homelessness, with numbers in Wales set to rise by a third in the next five years unless the Welsh and UK Governments take long-term action to tackle it. 

This is according to new expert analysis conducted for Crisis by Heriot-Watt University providing the most complete picture to-date of the worst forms of homelessness, including rough sleeping and sofa surfing, as well as 25-year forecasts for each category across England, Wales and Scotland.

Launched as part of Crisis's 50th anniversary year and drawing on the most up-to-date sources available, the report estimates that at any one time in 2016 across Wales (full Britain figures available):

*  300 people slept rough 
*  3,100 households* were sofa surfing
*  200 households were living in unsuitable temporary accommodation 
*  900 households were living in hostels
*  600 households were living in other circumstances, including squats, women's refuges, winter night shelters, sleeping in tents, cars or public transport.  

Drawing on detailed economic modelling, the report warns that if current policies continue unchanged, the most acute forms of homelessness are likely to keep rising, with sofa surfing in Wales expected to rise by nearly half in the next five years (48 per cent) and households in unsuitable temporary accommodation set to double. Meanwhile, across Britain, overall levels of acute homelessness are expected to rise by 26 per cent in the next decade [see appendix for graph].

The Welsh Government has pledged a number of initiatives to tackle the issue, including to build 20,000 new affordable homes by 2021, and to do more to prevent people from becoming homeless in the first place. Crisis supports these measures, and in the longer term, is calling on the governments in Westminster and Wales to develop a plan to end homelessness for good. 

The charity is asking the Welsh public to be part of this plan by joining its Everybody In campaign - a national movement for permanent change aimed at ending the worst forms of homelessness once and for all.  

Jon Sparkes, Chief Executive of Crisis, said: "This year Crisis marks its 50th anniversary, but that's little cause for celebration. We still exist because homelessness still exists, and today's report makes it only too clear that unless we take action as a society, the problem is only going to get worse with every year that passes. That means more people sleeping on our streets, in doorways or bus shelters, on the sofas of friends or family, or getting by in hostels and B&Bs. In order to tackle this, it's crucial we first understand the scale of the problem.

"Regardless of what happens in people's lives, whatever difficulties they face or choices they make, no one should have to face homelessness. With the right support at the right time, it doesn't need to be inevitable. There are solutions, and we're determined to find them and make them a reality.

"Yet we can't do this alone, which is why we're calling on the public to back our Everybody In campaign and help us build a movement for change. Together we can find the answers, and make sure those in power listen to them."

"It's great that the Welsh Government has pledged to build more affordable homes, tackle youth homelessness, and improve homelessness prevention. Now we need to go further and work together on a plan to end homelessness for good."

Everybody In aims to bring people together to change opinions, raise awareness and ultimately end homelessness for good, and includes a library of first-hand accounts showing the reality of homelessness in Britain. 

Alongside this, Crisis will be working towards a national plan to end the worst forms of homelessness once and for all, bringing together everything needed to make this happen, including consultations in all three nations and a large scale programme of research. 
Today's report is the first of two parts, with the second - due for publication in the Autumn - to examine 'wider homelessness', including people at risk of homelessness or those who have already experienced it, such as households that have been served an eviction notice and those in other forms of temporary accommodation. 


For more on our #ColdTruth campaign click link: http://www.thewave.co.uk/promotions/the-cold-truth/

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