Housing

Welsh government's £2.6m homelessness cash boost after Sheen criticism

Up to 63 per cent of at-risk households saved from the streets after bumper investment in prevention – but 'more to do' on Michael Sheen's plea for rough sleeping measures

The Welsh government has taken its investment into preventing homelessness up to £2.6 million after revealing that up to 63 per cent of at-risk households were saved from the streets in the last six months.

Cabinet Secretary for Communities and Children, Carl Sargeant, announced a further £500,000 to tackle youth homelessness and rough sleeping – just months after investing £2.1 million on the issue over the summer.

But the communities secretary did admit that there is ‘more we can do’ when it comes to tackling rough sleeping figures, following criticism from actor Michael Sheen.

Providing people with a safe, warm and secure home remains a key priority and I acknowledge there is more we can do

The pledge comes on the back of the release of figures for April and June this year, which reported that 63 per cent of families threatened with homelessness have avoided losing their home.

Of the 2,652 households assessed as being homeless across 21 of the 22 local authorities in Wales during the period, 39 per cent were able to secure accommodation for the next six months with council help.

The additional £500,000 will go towards projects which will aim to tackle rough sleeping, youth homelessness and mental health as well as supporting people moving on to house-hunting in the private renting sector.

Cardiff, Newport, Swansea and Wrexham local authorities will also benefit from capital funding to increase the capacity of emergency night provision available for rough sleepers.

Michael Sheen speaks with ITV Cymru Wales

But these figures come just a fortnight after actor Sheen pleaded with the Welsh government to tackle the rising number of rough sleepers in the country after the number on the streets doubled in the past three years.

The Damned United star admitted that he was ‘ashamed’ by the spike in an interview with ITV Wales.

Communities secretary Sargeant said: “The latest quarterly figures show the legislation we introduced in 2015 is continuing to help more people who are homeless or at risk of becoming homeless.

“Providing people with a safe, warm and secure home remains a key priority and I acknowledge there is more we can do; particularly for rough sleepers and those groups who are struggling to get the help they need. This £2.6 million will increase the capacity to support those most in need of our help.”

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