Caredig is supporting Cymorth Cymru and Community Housing Cymru's latest Housing Matters campaign calling on the Welsh Government to publish a budget that supports our shared ambition to end homelessness in Wales.
Welsh Ministers have committed to ending homelessness in Wales, but this needs to be reflected in their 2022/23 budget decisions if this ambition is to become a reality.
Why we are supporting this campaign?
We know that homelessness and housing support services have been facing immense pressures and are in desperate need of additional funding.
Over the last few months Cymorth Cymru and CHC Cymru have been providing evidence of this to the Welsh Government and Members of the Senedd. In November 2022, Cymorth Cymru and Community Housing Cymru wrote to the Minister for Climate Change and the Minister for Finance and Local Government about the upcoming Welsh Government Draft Budget. They highlighted the pressures facing services and the impact of the cost-of-living crisis on staff, calling for an inflationary increase in the Housing Support Grant for 2023/24. Unfortunately, the Welsh Government’s Draft Budget, which was published on 13th December 2022, maintained the Housing Support Grant budget at £166m.
Pressure on the system
The pressure on the homelessness and housing support system has never been greater. Following the incredible work to get people off the streets during the pandemic, official statistics show that we now have over 8,500 people in temporary accommodation. This figure is growing by approximately 500 people every month. Many of these people will need support to help them cope in temporary accommodation and move into a settled home. In addition, the cost-of-living crisis and sky-high rents are putting even more people at risk of losing their home and in need of housing-related support to avoid homelessness.
Cost of living crisis and frontline staff wages
In September 2022, Cymorth published a report that exposed the financial challenges facing frontline homelessness and housing support workers. This research shows that even before the energy bill increases this autumn, 79% of frontline workers were not putting on the heating in order to save money, 44% were struggling to pay bills, 11% were struggling to pay their rent, 7% were using food banks and many others were skipping meals and taking on additional jobs. Many were considering leaving careers they love because they can no longer make ends meet, highlighting better paid jobs in retail and delivery services which came with much less stress. The increased cost of running services Homelessness and housing support providers are increasingly concerned about the cost of running services. Accommodation-based services such as supported accommodation are particularly affected by the increase in energy bills.
What happens next?
The Draft Budget will be scrutinised by Members of the Senedd over the next few weeks, with Senedd Committees looking in detail at the budget and considering the impact it will have on the people of Wales. There will be a Senedd debate on the Draft Budget on 7th February 2023, during which Committee Chairs and other Members of the Senedd will express their views and pose questions to the Finance Minister. On 28th February 2023 the Welsh Government will publish its Final Budget for 2023/24.