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New inquiry on rough sleeping in Wales

15/01/2018

A new inquiry is underway looking at the causes of and support available to prevent rough sleeping in Wales.

Person sleeping on a street in a city

The Equality, Local Government and Communities Committee wants the views and ideas of people to help form its conclusions and recommendations.

Figures show that there were at least 313 people sleeping rough across Wales in the two weeks from 10 – 23 October 2016. There appears to have been an increase in rough sleeping in Wales, although the precise scale of the increase is not clear.

As part of its inquiry the Committee will be looking at:

  • The effectiveness of Part 2 of the Housing (Wales) Act in preventing rough sleeping;

  • The scale of rough sleeping in Wales and the adequacy of data;

  • The causes of rough sleeping and of the apparent recent increases in rough sleeping;

  • The effectiveness and availability of services including emergency accommodation; and

  • The steps to prevent and tackle rough sleeping in Wales.

Part Two of the Housing (Wales) Act 2014 requires local housing authorities to help people who are homeless or threatened with homelessness.

Current legislation designed to tackle homelessness in Wales is based on early intervention and prevention, with local authorities only having a duty to secure accommodation for those considered to be in 'priority need'. Rough sleeping, in itself, is not considered priority need.

The Chair of the Committee, John Griffiths AM, said:

"I don't think any of us has failed to notice that seemingly more shop doorways, stairwells and park benches are being used by people sleeping rough.

"Particularly at this time of year people's health and even their lives are being put at risk.

"A lot of good work is being carried out by volunteers, charities, local authorities and health and social care professionals to provide help and support, but we want to know what else can be done."

The Committee will take evidence from relevant organisations and experts but is also looking for personal experiences.

Anyone wishing to contribute to the Committee's inquiry can either email SeneddCommunities@assembly.wales, or write to the Clerk to the Equality, Local Government and Communities Committee, National Assembly for Wales, Cardiff, CF99 1NA.

The closing date for submissions is Friday 2 February 2018. More information about the Committee and its inquiry can be found at www.assembly.wales/seneddcommunities.

 

 

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