Newport Council praised for its homelessness policy

  • Newport City Council was the victim of much malicious propaganda a few months ago, over completely unfounded allegations that they wanted to criminalise rough sleeping in the City Centre. They didn’t, and in reality they were never going to. It was only a suggestion from a committee, and was thrown out by the full council –  because of the views of Labour members.

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    Meanwhile a new report in the Guardian has firmly praised the Welsh Government and Newport Council for their enlightened and increasingly successful homelessness policies. For excerpts, read below, or  (click here) for the full article.

    Under the Housing Wales Act, all Welsh local authorities are now required to work with anyone facing homelessness, whether through family breakdown, rent or mortgage arrears or eviction, and to help all those who actually become homeless, rather than those who reach certain thresholds of priority need.

    Across Wales, initial results of the new approach are encouraging. While the number of households accepted as homeless in the last quarter of last year rose by 6% in England to 14,470, in Wales the number fell by some 67% to 405 in the same period.

    Simon Rose, housing needs manager at Newport council and chair of Wales’s homelessness network, says many areas in Wales including his own are struggling to meet the demand for social housing, while the private rented sector is becoming increasingly unaffordable. While the new prevention framework doesn’t solve those problems, it does give the council the flexibility to find new ways of helping people with their housing difficulties.

    In Newport, that means the south Wales council, alongside offering rent deposits and clearing arrears, has even helped pay everyday bills in order to ensure one pregnant tenant could get settled in her home without the fear of running up debt. And, like Flintshire, Newport is also working closely with support services, and to ensure the most vulnerable people don’t get trapped in the revolving door of evictions, B&Bs or failed tenancies, which would end up costing the council more in the long run. “We estimate that for every pound we spend, we are saving £4,” says Rose.

    He adds that the new set-up gives housing officers much more autonomy to help people whatever their circumstances. “It changes the mindset of staff on the frontline,” he says. “They can now have an open and frank discussion with people about their options. It gives staff a bit more confidence in delivering – they become almost like salespeople in presenting the options.”

     


    May 4th, 2016 | Caerleon Labour | Comments Off on Newport Council praised for its homelessness policy |

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