Homelessness: 'This is the time for bold action, so no one has to go through this' says charity

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The cost of living and housing crisis in Wales has increased pressure on thousands of people leading to a rise in homelessness over the past year.

Today the Welsh Government has announced what is being described as a "bold plan" by housing charity Crisis, to help eradicate the problem.

350 people who have themselves been homeless have shared their experiences in the hope that it will drive change.

Prevention at the earliest possible stage, is one of the main aims.

With 12,500 people supported by local authorities across Wales over the last year, a 7% increase according to Crisis, the mission to end homelessness is a massive one.

Climate Change Minister Julie James (whose brief includes Housing) says the Welsh Government plans to do just that.

"This is not a quick fix" she told the Senedd, acknowledging, "it will not be easy to achieve, but it is change that must happen, and we must begin the process now."

The Minister said: "There's no going back, homelessness has no place in a civilised society.

"Homelessness can be a traumatic experience, it can rob you of your dignity, your health, and your self-worth.

"Ending homelessness, is not just about providing a roof over a person's head, it is about addressing the wide range of causes and consequences of homelessness, and finding the right accommodation in the right place at the right time."

Homeless Charity Crisis worked with the Welsh Government on the White Paper. It supports thousands of people across Wales who find themselves homeless, sofa surfing or sleeping rough.

Its Head of Policy for Wales, Debbie Thomas told ITV Wales: "Homelessness is a really complex issue and there's lots of factors at play here.

"This paper really does look at a range of different issues that lots of different people are facing and looks at some practical solutions. They are really strong reforms that could really make a difference for lots of people.

She added: "Homelessness in Wales has been rising over the past few years. So, we're in a really difficult place. We know that the numbers of people in temporary accommodation for long periods of time is rising, and that's a really difficult place to be.

"This is not the time to sit back and do nothing, this is the time for bold action."

The Welsh Conservatives have welcome the "readiness" of the Welsh Government "to deliver legislative reform", but "have little hope that Labour's white paper will end homelessness".

Welsh Conservative Shadow Housing Minister, Janet Finch-Saunders MS said: “The white paper announced today is an admission that Labour has failed to tackle homelessness in Wales.

“There is a housing crisis in Wales of Labour’s making. They continuously miss their house building targets, are driving landlords out, and have overseen record numbers of residents sleeping rough and in temporary accommodation.

She added: “With the increase in rough sleepers across Wales, it is disgraceful that the Welsh Government has let it get to this point.

And questioned previous Labour housing legislation, continuing: "The 2014 Housing (Wales) Act has failed to address the structural causes of homelessness, and the Renting Homes (Wales) Act has made the crisis even worse.”

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