This year’s Homeless World Cup provides a fantastic platform for us to have an impact on public perception, homelessness policy and services in Wales. Michael Sheen has been very clear that he wants it to leave a real and lasting legacy. That’s why Cymorth Cymru [the representative body for providers of homelessness, housing and support services in Wales] has been working with Michael and people who use and deliver homelessness services to develop a series of ‘calls to action’. Our belief is that ending homelessness in Wales is possible – but we need everyone to play their part.
During the tournament our Play Your Part campaign will ask the public, business, housing and government to take action to end homelessness. Each of these groups will be asked to consider five actions – if they can all take at least one then we’ll be well on our way to making a difference.
Stopping and having a chat with someone on the street takes five minutes and costs nothing, but it can make a massive difference to someone’s day.
We know that government can dismantle some of the huge structural causes of homelessness, as well as providing the political and financial support for the solutions. So we’ve come up with some serious asks of the Welsh and UK governments, including building more social housing, increasing funding for support services, scrapping the Vagrancy Act and reducing waiting times for Universal Credit.
However, we also know that small individual actions can make a huge difference to people experiencing homelessness. Being treated with kindness, compassion and respect is the most common answer when we ask people with experience of homelessness, ‘What matters to you?’. We can all do this by stopping and having a chat with someone on the street. It takes five minutes and costs nothing, but it can make a massive difference to someone’s day.
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We are also asking people to get informed, get talking and get active; there’s a wealth of information about homelessness, so find out more and share it with your friends and family. Please support plans for more social housing and supported housing in your local communities.
Everyone deserves a right to a home but too many people don’t have one – your support can help to change this. We’re also encouraging people to contact their Assembly Members and MPs about homelessness. As their constituents, you have a powerful role to play in shaping their representations in the Senedd and House
During Euro 2016 the Wales team used the tagline #TogetherStronger and that’s exactly the sentiment behind the Play Your Part campaign. Much like football, ending homelessness is a team effort and we need everyone to step up.