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Housing Support Programme Strategy 2022 - 2026

Our strategy to aid our aim in making homelessness rare, brief and unrepeated.

Housing Support Programme Strategy Action Plan 2022- 2026 (Word doc) [62KB]

Contents

  1. Purpose of the Strategy
  2. Needs Assessment Summary
  3. Strategic Priorities
  4. Stakeholder Engagements
  5. Impact Assessment
  6. Implementing, monitoring and reviewing the Strategy
  7. Housing Support Programme Strategy Action Plan

Foreword

Cabinet Member for Climate Change and Transformation, Councillor Andrea Lewis

Cabinet Member for Care Services, Councillor Louise Gibbard

We are proud to introduce Swansea's new Housing Support Programme Strategy. The Strategy is a four year plan, which provides the strategic direction for homeless prevention and housing support services in Swansea.

The Strategy is ambitious and has been developed at a critical time for Swansea and the rest of Wales. It builds on the significant progress that has been achieved since March 2020 when the Covid19 pandemic emerged and the Welsh Government instructed all Councils to adopt the "Everyone In" approach to safeguard homeless people and those at risk of rough sleeping. This increased the number of people in temporary accommodation and being supported to exit homelessness and has significantly increased demand for housing and support services.

Our communities are still recovering from the impact of the Covid19 Pandemic and at the same time are now facing a cost-of-living crisis with prices for food, fuel and other essential goods increasing faster than household incomes, which is leading to increased need for affordable housing and support services. More than ever before the support provided to vulnerable households is critical to ensure that they are able to fulfil their potential for themselves and their families and thrive in their lives.

Although the responsibility to publish this Strategy lies with the Council, it is the result of the commitment of the homelessness and support sector to tackling homelessness in Swansea and we extend our gratitude to all the organisations and individuals that have contributed. A huge range of partners are involved in delivering the services and support outlined in this Strategy, including: support and accommodation providers, advice agencies, Health Board, GPs, the Police, Probation, the third sector and local authority services such as Housing, Social Services, Education and Poverty and Prevention.

The extent and complexity of the issues that face the Council and its partners over the next four years should not be under-estimated. However, we will strive to address these challenges in partnership, ensuring that the people of Swansea are able to access safe, secure and sustainable accommodation.

1. Introduction

1a Purpose of the Strategy

This document sets out the scale of the challenges Swansea faces in its aim to make Homelessness Rare, Brief and Unrepeated. It identifies it's not just a Housing issue but that it also requires a range of statutory partners such as the Health Board, Social Care, Probation as well as and other third sector and non-for-profit organisations including Registered Social Landlords to cooperate to provide, treatment and support for the most vulnerable people who are homeless to access and maintain a stable home. The strategy has a specific action plan giving more detail on how it intends to address these challenges with partners over the next four years.

The Housing Support Programme (HSP) Strategy fulfils the requirement described in the Housing Support Grant guidance published in March 2020 (updated in April 2021) to develop a strategic plan for the whole housing system.

The Housing Support Programme (HSP) Strategy incorporates the reviewed and updated 2018-2022 Homelessness Strategy produced as of part the local authority's statutory duty under Part 2 of the Housing (Wales) Act 2014, and the strategic plans for use of the Housing Support Grant (a combination of three existing grants Supporting People Programme Grant, Homeless Prevention Grant and Rent Smart Wales Enforcement Grant).

This Strategy and accompanying action plan set out the single, strategic direction of the local authority for homelessness prevention and housing related support services for the next four years (2022 - 2026). It sets out the key priorities for the local authority and its partners based on findings from a comprehensive needs assessment and stakeholder engagement.

1b Legislative and policy context

National context

The Housing (Wales) Act 2014

The Housing (Wales) Act 2014 is Wales' first piece of housing legislation, and its purpose is to improve the supply, quality and standards of housing in Wales. This included a reform of homelessness law, which placed a stronger duty on local authorities to prevent homelessness (within 56 days) and allowed the use of the private rented sector to discharge statutory homelessness duties. The Act also places a responsibility on all local authorities to produce a Homelessness Strategy in 2018, which will set out how they plan to tackle homelessness in their area over a four-year period.

Well-being of Future Generations (Wales) Act 2015 

The Act requires public bodies to carry out their functions in a sustainable way, which improves economic, social, environmental and cultural well-being. Preventing and tackling homelessness is an essential element in achieving the well-being of future generations. Homelessness prevention is a Well-being of Future Generations national indicator therefore is a key contributor to the Welsh Government's national goals. These are: a prosperous Wales; a resilient Wales; a more equal Wales; a Wales of more cohesive; communities; a Wales of vibrant culture and thriving Welsh language; a healthier Wales; a globally responsible Wales. The Act also sets out five ways of working: 

  • Preventing problems from occurring or from getting worse: the introduction of the Housing (Wales) Act 2014 has placed a firm emphasis on the prevention of homelessness. The Homelessness Service and Housing Support Grant funded services have adapted well to meet the new requirements and the strategy reinforces this with an objective to prioritise early intervention and prevention of homelessness. 
  • Addressing long-term challenges: The Strategy ensures an emphasis on helping households to secure long term, sustainable accommodation appropriate for their needs and maintain their tenancies through effective support. The Strategy also has a specific focus on rough sleeping which is the most extreme form of homelessness. 
  • Working in partnership with others: Partnership working is fundamental to this Strategy. Many people have multiple needs that extend beyond the basic need for a home. It is not possible for the Council to meet those needs in isolation. It is therefore essential to work in partnership in order to prevent homelessness and offer sustainable housing solutions. 
  • Avoiding conflicts between public body objectives: The Council is aware that any changes to its services may have an impact on its partners and other public bodies. The consultation process undertaken to develop the strategy provided partners with the opportunity to influence the content of the strategy and in particular the strategic priority and they were asked to identify where they could contribute to the achievement of the priorities.
  • Involving people: The Strategy recognises the importance of involvement through a specific objective to establish service users at the centre of service delivery, and a commitment to ensure that principles of co-production are incorporated in the design and delivery of services. 

Welsh Government's Strategy for Ending Homelessness 2018 and Ending Homelessness in Wales: A high level action plan 2021-2026

The Welsh Government's Ending Homelessness Strategy sets out five principles that underpin its approach to homelessness prevention and these principles will also underpin the work of the Local Authority and its delivery partners through the development and implementation of this Strategy. They are:

  • The earliest preventions are most effective and most cost effective and should always be the interventions of first choice.
  • Tackling and preventing homelessness is a public services matter - rather than only a 'housing matter'.
  • All services should place the individual at the centre and work together in a trauma informed way.
  • The duties in Part 2 of the Housing (Wales) Act 2014 should be the last line of defence - not the first - and all services should work to the spirit not simply the letter of the law.
  • Policy, service delivery and practice should be informed and shaped in a co-productive manner and by those with lived experience.

The Welsh Government Strategy and Action Plan set out two key actions, which will be critical to ending homelessness:

  • A commitment to fundamentally reform homelessness services to focus on prevention and rapid rehousing; and
  • Building 20,000 new low carbon social homes for rent.

The Welsh Government has identified the following key priorities for tackling homelessness in Wales:

  • 'Rare' - Ensuring homelessness is rare means preventing people becoming homeless in the first place 
  • 'Brief' - how a national focus on rapid rehousing will lead to a Wales where homelessness is brief 
  • 'Unrepeated' - Ensuring we have a system which places the right people in the right homes in the right communities with the right support, in order for people to succeed and thrive 
  • Partnership working - The Welsh Government's Homelessness Strategy makes clear that homelessness cannot be prevented through housing alone and that all public services and the third sector have a role to play, working together to prevent homelessness and where it cannot be prevented ensure it is rare, brief and unrepeated. Partnership working therefore must be at the heart of everything we do. 

Renting Homes (Wales) Act 2016

The Renting Homes Act (due for implementation during 2022) impacts on homelessness prevention in a positive way by increasing security of tenure for renters, particularly in the private rented sector, by increasing the notice period from a two-month notice period to a six-month notice period. It also restricts the issuing of a notice until the tenant has been in their tenancy for six months. This gives tenants the security of tenure for 12 months. There are also a number of other provisions that will impact on supported housing services for example the ability to exclude an individual for up to 48 hours. Close partnership working will be required between accommodation and support providers and Swansea Council to ensure that this provision of the Act is well managed and does not lead to increased incidents of rough sleeping.

The Social Services and Well-Being (Wales) Act 2014

The Social Services and Well-Being (Wales) Act emphasises the importance of a coherent approach to preventative work within our communities and it defines what these services are expected to achieve:

  • Helping families stay together safely
  • A key focus for all services begins with early identification of need and effective early intervention.

The fundamental principles of the Act provide a legal framework for improving the well-being of people who need care and support. They are:

  • Voice and control - putting the individual and their needs at the centre of their care, giving them a voice and control to reach their outcomes that help them achieve wellbeing.
  • Prevention and early intervention - increasing preventative services within the community to minimise the escalation of critical need.
  • Well-being - supporting people to achieve their own well-being and measuring the success of care and support.
  • Co-production - encouraging individuals to become more involved in the design and delivery of services

Violence against Women, Domestic Abuse and Sexual Violence (Wales) Act 2015.

The purpose of the VAWDASV Act is to improve prevention, protection and support for people affected by VAWDASV across Wales. There are two duties placed on public bodies within the Act, which will strengthen services. These are:

  • National Training Framework - A Framework of training to help professionals deal with disclosures of abuse and ensure a consistent approach across services
  • 'Ask and Act' - A simple approach that will require professionals to identify symptoms of abuse, ask service users if they are experiencing abuse, and to act appropriately on any disclosures

Local / Regional Context

Swansea's Homelessness Strategy

Swansea's Homelessness Strategy was developed in 2018 in response to findings of the Homelessness Review 2017, which provided a comprehensive understanding of homelessness across Swansea, including identifying issues and gaps in service provision, which the Strategy seeks to address. The Strategy was also developed as a result of extensive consultation with service users and stakeholders to ensure that it accurately captured the needs and aspirations of all those involved with and experiencing homelessness in Swansea. It sets out the guiding principles for the development and delivery of homelessness services in Swansea over a four-year period between December 2018 and December 2022. However due to the change in Welsh Government guidance the Homelessness Strategy will now be incorporated into the new requirement for a Housing Support Programme Strategy.

A mid-point review of the Homelessness Strategy was completed March 2021, which concluded that the aims and objectives of the Strategy remain robust and fit for purpose and that good progress had been made across all five objectives, with high levels of homelessness prevention being maintained. 

When the Strategy was developed it was never envisaged that an event as serious as the pandemic would occur, which has led to huge challenges for organisations and the public to overcome. There have been significant changes in the way services are delivered and there is increased demand for homelessness and support services, including significant changes in Welsh Government policy.

Despite recent challenges, the Strategy has provided a clear focus for the Council and its partners to address homelessness in Swansea, and has remained a dynamic, flexible document with the ability to adapt to changing priorities and challenges. Existing partnership working arrangements with the voluntary sector, support providers, Registered Social Landlords, Health, Welsh Government and other Council Services have been crucial in ensuring that the challenges of delivering the Strategy have been met and these partnerships have been strengthened and extended during the pandemic.

Therefore, the Homelessness Strategy 2018-22 forms a strong basis for the development of a new Housing Support Programme Strategy and as such the five overarching objectives remain in place. However, the Strategy will be integrated into the new Housing Support Programme and has been refocussed to take into account key changes including increasing demand for homelessness and support services, the impacts of the pandemic and Welsh Government priorities/policies developed in response to these.

The vision for homelessness prevention in Swansea has been amended to reflect the Welsh Government's priorities for homelessness to be "rare, brief and unrepeated," and the HSP Strategy now includes strategic objectives for HSG services as part of an overall 'Housing Support Programme' that encompasses both the statutory homelessness duty funded through the revenue settlement and non-statutory preventative services funded through the HSG.

Swansea's Local Housing Strategy

Swansea's strategic housing priorities are set out in its Local Housing Strategy, which are:

  • Increasing the supply of good quality affordable homes
  • Addressing the needs of specific groups
  • Sustainable development

The Local Housing Strategy is currently being updated, and a new strategy will be in place during 2022. The new strategy will ensure that it supports the strategic priorities identified for the Housing Support Programme Strategy.

Swansea Public Service Board and Local Well-Being Plan 

As part of the Well-being of Future Generations (Wales) Act 2015, every council in Wales is legally required to have a Public Services Board, a partnership of public service agencies, whose purpose is to work collectively to improve local social, economic, environmental and cultural well-being. Each Public Service Board is required to carry out an Assessment of well-being to understand current levels of well-being and what matters most to local communities and to produce a plan in order to improve well-being. 

Following the Assessment of Well-being in Swansea, the Local Well-being Plan has been produced, which contains the high-level priorities that the Swansea Public Service Board has identified as being the most important, these are: 

  • Early Years - To make sure children have the best start in life to be the best they can be 
  • Live Well, Age Well - To make Swansea a great place to live and age well 
  • Working with Nature - To improve health, enhance biodiversity and reduce our carbon footprint 
  • Strong Communities - To empower communities promoting pride and belonging 

Housing is a key theme within the plan and the Strategy supports the delivery of some of the drivers identified to achieve the Well-being objectives, including: 

  • Ensuring children have the best start in life by enabling families to live in a good standard of housing 
  • Contributing to ensuring that people live well and age well by enabling people to live in safe, good quality homes and providing support so that people can get information, advice and help. 

Corporate Vision and Priorities 

Preventing homelessness is a fundamental function of the Council and an essential element of achieving Swansea's vision "To create a safer, greener, smarter, fairer, healthier and richer Swansea." The strategy reflects the corporate priorities of:

  • Safeguarding people from harm - so that our citizens are free from harm and exploitation 
  • Improving Education and Skills - so that every child and young person in Swansea gains the skills and qualifications they need to succeed in life 
  • Transforming our Economy and Infrastructure - so that Swansea has a thriving mixed use City Centre and a local economy that will support the prosperity of our citizens 
  • Tackling Poverty - so that every person in Swansea can achieve his or her potential 
  • Maintaining and enhancing Swansea's natural resources and biodiversity - so that we maintain and enhance biodiversity, reduce our carbon footprint, improve our knowledge and understanding of our natural environment and benefit health and well-being 
  • Transformation and Future Council development - so that we and the services that we provide are sustainable and fit for the future 

In particular, the Strategy contributes to tackling poverty and safeguarding people from harm. It is essential that the Council provides high quality homeless and housing support services so that it is able to protect the most vulnerable people in Swansea.

Links to Programs, Strategies, Projects

There are also a number of interfaces and dependencies that link with the Housing Support Programme Strategy for it to be fully effective including: 

  • Homelessness Strategy
  • Local Housing Strategy 
  • Local Housing Market Assessment 
  • More Homes Delivery Programme
  • Health, Housing and Social Care Strategy
  • Area Planning Board
  • Western Bay Area Plan 2018-23 
  • Children and Communities Action Plan
  • Health of Homelessness and Vulnerable Groups Action Plan
  • Poverty Strategy 
  • Violence Against Women, Domestic Abuse and Sexual Violence Strategy 
  • Safer Swansea Strategy 

The Strategy and Action Plan have been developed in consultation with the stakeholders responsible for these programs, strategies and projects and reflects needs and priorities they have identified.

1c Vision and principles

Swansea's overall vision for homelessness prevention and housing support services is:

"To work in partnership to ensure every person has access to good quality advice, accommodation and support at the earliest possible opportunity so that homelessness is rare, brief and unrepeated".

Swansea's Homelessness Strategy 2018-22 set five objectives to support the vision to prevent homelessness. These have been reviewed and remain robust and fit for purpose and will provide the overarching structure and direction for the new HSP Strategy and the strategic priorities set out in section 3.

This Strategy is intended to increase the ability of the Council and its partners to prevent homelessness wherever possible. Prevention through early identification and intervention, as well as equitable and easy access to services, will reduce homelessness. Where it cannot be prevented, the Strategy aims to minimise the distress of the experience through rapid and robust service responses. This will be achieved through adoption of the following five objectives: 

Objective 1: Ensuring service users are at the centre of service delivery 

Objective 2: Prioritising early intervention and prevention of homelessness 

Objective 3: Ensuring suitable accommodation is available for people who are or may become homeless 

Objective 4: Ensuring appropriate support is available for people who are or may become homeless 

Objective 5: Providing robust responses to support rough sleepers and eliminating the need for individuals to sleep rough 

Key principles

In order to successfully deliver its vision and objectives this strategy will:

  • Place prevention at the heart of services
  • Safeguard people from harm
  • Ensure equality of access to services and promote social inclusion and community cohesion
  • Maximise the resources available to deal with homelessness
  • Encourage and promote local partnership and regional working, where appropriate, in order to make the best use of resources and promote the ethos that homelessness is everyone's business

2. Needs assessment

2a Needs Assessment process

 A comprehensive needs assessment has taken place to inform the development of the Strategy. An explanation of the methods and data included is described in detail within the following section. A service response to the findings from the needs assessment is described within the "Statement of Need" which will also inform the development of the HSG Delivery Plan.

Full 'Statement of Need' document available on request.

Homelessness Review

A desktop analysis has been undertaken of the homelessness data available for the period 2016/17 to 2020/21. This has provided the opportunity to look in detail at the impact that the Covid pandemic has had on demand for homelessness services, levels of homelessness in Swansea and enabled a prediction of future levels of need. The following data has been used:

  • Households provided with assistance during the year - homelessness outcomes s66, s73, s 75
  • Homelessness prevention rate
  • Demographic breakdown of households
  • Causes of homelessness
  • Actions taken to prevent and relieve homelessness
  • S75 Housings in priority need, including demographic breakdown
  • Intentionally homeless decisions
  • Temporary accommodation data:
    • Households in B and B accommodation
    • Other forms of temporary accommodation
    • Use of temporary accommodation for families
    • Move on from temporary accommodation
  • Rough sleeping figures
  • Availability of permanent accommodation including
    • RSLs
    • Council lettings and voids data
    • Private rented sector - including comparison of median rents and local Housing allowance
  • Council housing evictions levels
  • Demand for social housing
  • Swansea Local Housing Market Assessment - future need
  • Demand for floating tenancy support
  • Assessment of future levels of homelessness

Support Needs Data Review

A range of data is collected via the Housing Support Grant commissioning process which includes:

Housing Support Grant Contract Monitoring

The method of monitoring of Housing Support Grant providers changed considerably during the financial year 2020-2021 as a result of the pandemic and subsequent restrictions. Pro-active monitoring was maintained through regular conversations with provider organisation either via the telephone or via TEAMs.

Contact periods were risk assessed and varied; however fortnightly contact was the default position for all providers. During these conversations, a range of issues was raised, including staff absence (covid and non-covid related), recruitment, safeguarding issues, occupancy rate, client issues such as non-compliance with covid restrictions, and latterly vaccination figures. The issues of client well-being during lockdown and in the absence of external activities and support services was also a common theme.

The development of software and developing expertise around remote working has enabled the resumption of more formal monitoring meetings using TEAMS, which have been taking place on a phased basis since May 2021. Contract Liaison Meetings have also been held with providers, focusing on financial, strategic, and organisational issues including proposed service changes and adjustments.

In response to the pandemic the HSG team also began to request weekly information on some key issues using a standard matrix. Further elements of monitoring include:

  • A six-monthly outcomes spreadsheet which provides information on client progress across a range of desired outcomes on a standard scale of 1-5 defined by the Welsh Government and used across all HSG funded providers within Wales. It also provides information on the homelessness status of clients at point of entry into and point of exit from services. Further information on outcomes analysis is provided in the next section.
  • Monthly tenant movement information sheets are also requested. These provide an up-to-date picture of occupancy rates and of the move on status of clients, as well as information on protected characteristics.
  • An 'Outcomes Summary Sheet' is also requested on an annual basis. This provides more detailed information to the HSG team on emerging themes, barriers to client progress and on what worked and what did not work in efforts to develop client independence, and to enable move on to lower level of support, where possible and appropriate. This is also viewed as an opportunity for providers to reflect on their own services.
  • We also request individual case studies, to provide a narrative context to the quantitative information requested.

Housing Support Grant Outcomes Framework

The Housing Support Grant Outcomes Framework is an information gathering tool which has been developed to assist with understanding what Housing Support Grant Services achieve and the impact that support has made and the progression on those who receive services. Service users' support assessments/plans are targeted on understanding the goals they want to achieve in relation to the following outcome areas:

Promoting Personal and Community Safety

  • Feeling safe
  • Contributing to the safety and wellbeing of others 

Promoting Independence and Control

  • Managing accommodation
  • Managing relationships
  • Feeling part of the community

Promoting Economic Progress and Financial Control

  • Managing money
  • Engaging in education/learning
  • Engaged in employment/voluntary work

Promoting Health and Wellbeing

  • Physically healthy
  • Mentally healthy
  • Leading a healthy and active lifestyle.

An 'Outcomes spreadsheet' for each individual scheme is completed and returned to the Housing Support Grant Team. A supplementary outcomes qualitative form and case studies are also requested annually to provide further context on the information submitted on the outcomes spreadsheet. The Housing Support Grant Team has also developed an 'outcomes light' spreadsheet as an alternative mechanism to collate information on support provided by schemes which do not complete the outcomes spreadsheet due to the service model such as outreach, drop in.

Temporary Supported Accommodation Commissioning Review

A review of Temporary Supported Accommodation is in progress to reshape and remodel temporary supported accommodation. The review will aim to identify opportunities to target prevention at an earlier stage, reduce time spent within temporary accommodation and improve the pathway to accessing longer-term housing for people who are homeless by moving to a rapid rehousing approach.

As part of the temporary accommodation review Swansea Council engaged with Vanguard consultants to facilitate a system thinking review to remodel the current temporary supported accommodation pathway for people experiencing homelessness. A six-day workshop was held with a range of stakeholders including the third sector support and accommodation providers, statutory services, Registered Social Landlords, Health, and substance misuse providers.

The Vanguard review provided an opportunity to engage with a range of stakeholders to evaluate the current pathway and build on the progress with new ways of working that have already been achieved during the pandemic. Learning from the review has helped to inform the development of the Housing Support Programme Strategy, the Delivery Plan and the Rapid Rehousing Transition Plan.

Youth Homeless Commissioning Review

Adult Services, Child and Family Services and the Homelessness Services are jointly undertaking a commissioning review of the Supported Accommodation and Floating Support services for young people in Swansea.

A Single Integrated Service Gateway (Supported Accommodation Pathway) has been developed to support young people to access the right accommodation support and at the right time and ensure the resources in Swansea are used appropriately to improve outcomes for young people. Since 2019 the data from Supported Accommodation Pathway (SAP) has been collected and analysed.

The SAP information in conjunction with homelessness data has been pivotal in establishing a clear understanding of the profile of need, and the demands on service provision. The data has been used to develop a service assessment to inform the youth homeless commissioning review and the preferred commissioning and procurement options.

Swansea Homelessness Services Coordination Cell

In response to Welsh Government Guidance, a multi-agency Homelessness Services Coordination Cell has been established to help co-ordinate the homelessness sector's response to the challenges arising due to the pandemic. The Cell has developed providing both an operational and strategic focus and has been central to identifying issues/ responses / priorities /actions for inclusion within strategies, particularly in relation to rough sleeping, substance misuse and access to mental health services.

Market Stability Reports Adult Services and Child and Family Services

The Social Services and Well-being (Wales) Act 2014 requires local authorities to prepare and publish market stability reports for the social care market. The reports provide data on sufficiency, patterns of demand and supply, current and projected trends, the challenges, risks, opportunities and other factors affecting the market. The reports assist with planning and help shape commissioning strategies and market position statements for care and support.

Swansea Violence against Women, Domestic Abuse and Sexual Violence Strategy

This Swansea Violence against Women Domestic Abuse and Sexual Violence (VAWDASV) strategy is an overarching plan which outlines the priority areas and strategic direction around healthy relationships and the implementation of the Violence Against Women, Domestic Abuse and Sexual Violence (Wales) Act 2015 within Swansea. There is also continued work across the Western Bay Region to identify elements of this plan which are best delivered on a wider area basis.

Swansea Council and Swansea Bay University Health Board work with a wide range of partner agencies via the VAWDASV Leadership Group to develop and deliver on the implementation of the strategy.

A monitoring framework is in place to capture demand, assess needs, and identify gaps in provision and emerging trends. Information is collated and analysed and presented to the VAWDASV Leadership Group to inform strategic planning.

Opportunities for Accommodation and Support in Swansea (OASIS)

For individuals supported by the Community Health Team there is a central panel/gateway approach to allocation and waiting lists for accommodation and support. Analysis of data including waiting lists and length of time in temporary accommodation is utilised to support and inform strategic priorities and commissioning decisions.

The following additional information has also been used in the development of the Homelessness Review and the Housing Support Programme Strategy:

  • Homelessness Strategy midpoint review - report to Council March 2020.
  • Review of Welsh Government Policy Changes - including WG Strategy for Preventing and Ending Homelessness (Oct 2019), Ending Homelessness Action Plan, Draft Rapid Rehousing Guidance
  • OASIS (Opportunities for Accommodation and Support in Swansea)
  • Swansea Local Housing Market Assessment
  • Swansea's Population Needs Assessment and Wellbeing Assessment are currently being renewed - findings will be considered once available.

Client and Stakeholder Surveys

In order to enhance the data used in the homelessness review and needs assessment, a consultation exercise with service users was completed, with the purpose of understanding and learning from the experiences of services users during the pandemic and building our understanding of what has worked for service delivery and what has not worked - so that the views of service users are able to influence plans for future service delivery. 

 A survey was also sent to a wide range of stakeholders providing them with the opportunity to input into the strategic objectives for this strategy and also to identify where they can take actions to help achieve them. This aspect is particularly important and part of the Local Authority's plan to support the Welsh Government's aim to ensure that homelessness is seen as everyone's business. The consultation findings were used to finalise the strategy objectives and action plan.

A stakeholder forum took place in March 2022 to discuss the findings and provide further opportunities for stakeholders to influence the development of the Strategy.

2b Key findings

Homelessness Review Key Findings

Levels of homelessness in Swansea

Overall, there has been an increase in homelessness in Swansea since 2016/17, with the number of homelessness outcomes increasing from 2661 in 2016/17 to 3060 in 2019/20 - an increase of 15%. This figure reduced slightly in 2020/21 due to measures put in place to reduce homelessness during the pandemic, and also due to there being less outcomes for those still in temporary accommodation, but remained at the same level as 2016/17. Around 30% of these initial applications are found to be not homeless or threatened with homelessness and receive other forms of housing advice and assistance.

Total number of outcomes
2016/172661
2017/182642
2018/192596
2019/203060
2020/212648

Initial data for the first two quarters of 2021/22 (April - Sept) show that homelessness applications continue to rise with an additional 250 applications made as compared with the same period in 2020/21. This means that in 2021/22, Swansea is potentially on course to receive the highest number of applications for more than five years.

There has been a slight reduction in the prevention rate during 2020/21 (reducing from 72% in 2019/20 to 69.4%), which is reflective of the increasing difficulties of accessing permanent, affordable accommodation during the pandemic.

 Whilst there has been an overall reduction in homelessness decisions in 2020/21, the reductions were in the number of households found to be threatened with homelessness within 56 days (s.66), but there have been higher numbers of households found to be actually homeless (s.73).

When homelessness prevention has not been possible, a household will be offered assistance by Swansea Council to help secure alternative accommodation in order to relieve their homelessness. The number of households who required this assistance has increased significantly since 2016/17 and figures for 2020/21 were 65% higher than in 2016/17, an additional 257 households. The largest increase took place between 2017/18 and 2018/19 with a 40% increase in homeless households. There was a further 20% increase in 2019/20 resulting in significantly higher levels of homelessness in 2020/21. The majority of these were single homeless households.

The steady increase of s73 demonstrates it is becoming more difficult to prevent homelessness.

 2016/172017/182018/192019/202020/21
s66 - the number of households accepted as threatened with homelessness, prevention assistance provided1143115211731115939
s73 - number of households accepted as homeless. Subject to duty to help secure. 395364509610652

The reasons for these increases are demonstrated in the causes of homelessness, which showed significant increases in financial causes of homelessness for 2018/19, and the table below shows the most significant increases in causes of homelessness during 2018/19, which account for the increase in households found to be homeless (s73).

Cause of homelessness s 66 and 73

2017/18

2018/19

% increase

Domestic abuse

195

263

35%

Current property unaffordable

28

42

50%

Mortgage arrears

13

31

138%

Rent arrears on Private sector dwellings

33

50

51%

Rent arrears on: Social sector dwellings

26

63

142%

There has also been a significant increase in the number of priority need cases owed a duty to provide temporary accommodation. The largest increase was between 2018/19 and 2019/20.

2016/1754
2017/1858
2018/1976
2019/20138
2020/21169

The most significant increase in households owed a duty under s75 took place between 2018/19 and 2019/20 (45%). The reasons for these increases are demonstrated in the table below. The further increase in 2020/21 is in part reflective of the longer timescales it is taking for households to be permanently rehoused, due to the factors affecting availability of permanent accommodation. This is leading to longer periods in temporary accommodation and therefore more households have fallen under the s75 duty.

The table below provides the causes of homelessness for households who are owned a s75 duty. It shows that the most significant increases can been seen in prison leavers, domestic abuse and households leaving institutions/care.

Causes of homelessness s75

2016/17

2017/18

2018/19

2019/20

2020/21

Prison leaver

24

13

15

33

43

Domestic abuse

1

2

16

25

23

Other for example homeless in emergency, returned from abroad, sleeping rough, in hostel

3

8

7

11

23

Other relatives/friends no longer willing or able to accommodate

5

4

11

13

22

In institution or care

5

7

3

17

17

Parent no longer willing or able to accommodate

4

2

9

8

15

Loss of rented or tied accommodation

2

13

6

10

8

Breakdown of relationship with partner (Non-violent)

4

7

4

8

8

Violence or harassment

2

0

3

5

6

current property unsuitable

2

1

1

2

3

Current property unaffordable

0

0

0

0

1

Mortgage arrears

0

0

0

3

0

Rent arrears on Private sector dwellings

0

0

0

1

0

Rent arrears on: Social sector dwellings

2

1

1

2

0

TOTAL

54

58

76

138

169

Reasons for priority need

As outlined above, changes between 2016/17 and 2020/21 show an increase in the number of priority need cases provided with temporary accommodation, reflecting the increase in complex cases requiring support and assistance. Overall, the amount of priority need cases in 2020/21 (169) is three times higher than in 2016 (54), with a sharp increase seen between 2018/19 (76) and 2019/20 (138). This increase is reflected across Wales (albeit not as large), which also showed an increase in priority cases over the same period from 2073 to 2631. National information is not available for 2019/20 and 2020/21 to enable further comparisons.

The main reasons for priority need are households who are vulnerable due to mental illness/learning disabilities or due to a physical disability. The majority of the increase is accounted for by single person households and they remain the highest number of priority need cases - 89%. There has also been an increase in the number of single parents between 2016/17 and 2019/20 increased from 0 to 19 households, with a slight drop in 2020/21.

Whilst some of the increases are as a result of the lack of move-on options, there are other factors which have contributed to these sharp increases. It should be noted that pre-pandemic the Authority started to take a much more balanced approach towards the 'priority need test' and started the journey of moving towards the removal of priority need in the future. For example, an 'everybody-in' approach was taken in 2020, whereby anyone found rough sleeping was offered temporary accommodation and highly likely to be found in priority need.

The evidence clearly shows the challenge that is faced with the increase of those who are vulnerable and with complex needs who are ending up homeless and then remaining in temporary accommodation for too long. Further analysis is required; however there is strong indication that we are seeing a number of cases with mental health needs whereby the supported housing project they are in is not meeting their needs resulting in evictions. In addition, those with serious substance misuse issues are often the hardest to find sustainable accommodation for and if we are going to tackle the cycle of repeat homelessness, we must take a multi-agency approach.

'Vulnerable due to physical disabilities' category has also seen cases more than double over the last 5 years. This is an area of focus for us going forward and evidence that we need to ensure that we increase the level of accessible properties, both from a temporary and permanent perspective.

Description

16/17

17/18

18/19

19/20

20/21

Vulnerable due to mental illness/learning disabilities

23

25

30

50

49

Vulnerable due to other special reasons

4

3

3

14

40

Vulnerable due to Physical disability

14

16

17

30

32

A person fleeing domestic abuse or threatened abuse

3

2

16

21

25

A former prisoner vulnerable as a result of having served a custodial sentence

4

8

3

5

10

Households with dependent children

3

2

6

14

9

Care leaver or person at particular risk of sexual or financial exploitation (18 or over but under 21)

1

1

1

1

3

Households homeless in an emergency

0

0

0

0

1

Households where member is pregnant and no other dependent children

2

0

0

0

0

A person leaving the armed forces

0

1

0

0

0

Vulnerable due to old age

0

0

0

3

0

A 16- or 17-year-old

0

0

0

0

0

Causes of homelessness

The top causes of homelessness changed during the pandemic because of Welsh Government policies put in place to prevent evictions and reduce homelessness during the pandemic. In particular, reductions were seen in homelessness due to evictions from social housing or private rented accommodation due to rent arrears. This is also demonstrated by the council evictions for rent arrears which were zero during 2020/21. Although it should be noted that council evictions had already dropped significantly in 2019/20 (from 99 in 2018/19 to 67 32%) due to a new Psychologically Informed Environment (PIE) and trauma informed ethos being adopted by the Council Rents Team. The ongoing aim is to keep rent arrears evictions at an absolute minimum.

Since 2017 overall rent arrears have continued to increase. Whilst there is a correlation between the decrease in evictions and increase in overall arrears it is challenging to measure the specifics of the impact. In addition to this there are other significant contributory factors in respect of the increasing arrears including the introduction and ongoing roll out of Universal Credit full service; which began in Swansea in December 2017, general economic climate, austerity measures and other welfare reforms, increasing numbers of people who are vulnerable with unmet complex support needs, challenges in respect of lack of engagement with support offered and the continuing impacts of the COVID19 pandemic. Moving forward, though a return to pre-pandemic eviction levels is not anticipated, arrears levels are forecast to increase further and it is acknowledged that alongside the developing approach in respect of evictions higher levels of arrears may need to be tolerated but also considered in the context of reductions in court costs expenditure and the broader financial impacts of eviction.

Evictions in the private rented sector are anticipated to increase now that landlords are able to resume court action, and the long-term economic impacts of the pandemic and cost of living increases, removal of £20 per week Universal Credit uplift, fuel price rises etc which will adversely affect affordability of private rents.

There was also a reduction in cases where households were homeless due to leaving institution or care - this is accounted for by the pause in move on from Home Office accommodation for refugees who have had an asylum decision - this will increase, as the move on process recommenced in October 2021.

There was also a reduction in cases where the cause of homelessness was domestic abuse. The reasons for this are unclear but during the first six months of 2020/21, services were limited due to lockdown measures in place, and there was reduced activity and movement across the population. This could have resulted in difficulties for people experiencing domestic abuse to access services during the lockdown period and meant that they had less opportunities to report or leave. Less face-to-face contact may have led to less support and encouragement to move on. 

Refuges also reported difficulties during the pandemic including the need to protect the health of vulnerable survivors already in the service, some of which may be self-isolating, alongside the need for additional personal protection equipment (PPE) and the deep cleaning of communal and refuge spaces before a new survivor could be accommodated. These difficulties can result in a reduction in available places.

There was, however, an increase in demand for community-based VAWDASV advice and support. The Swansea VAWDASV monitoring framework has reported a significant increase in referrals to VAWDASV schemes, which offer telephone and face-to-face (limited during Pandemic) support, and advice to women experiencing domestic abuse.

There were large increases in homelessness due to family or friends/other relatives no longer being willing to accommodate - which is reflective of the family pressures that increased during the pandemic and tighter restrictions on households mixing which mean that informal arrangements could not continue. 

The chart below shows the changes from pre-pandemic period. Up until 2019/20 causes of homelessness had remained relatively static with loss of private rented accommodation consistently being the top cause of homelessness, but this is now the 6th, which is a significant change and clearly demonstrates the impact of the eviction ban.

Causes of homelessness - 2019/20 compared to 2020/21 (s66 and s73)
 2019/20 (%)2020/21 (%)
Parent no longer willing or able to accomodate1319
Other relatives/friends no longer willing or able to accomodate1217
Breakdown of relationship with partner (non-violent)1112
Domestic abuse1312
Prison leaver1011
Loss of rented or tied accommodation1410
In an institution or care107
Current property unsuitable3.54
Current property unaffordable2.52
Violence or harassment2.52
Mortgage arrears41.75
Rent arrears on: social sector dwellings11.75
Rent arrears on: private sector dwellings21
Other, such as homeless in emergency, returned from abroad, sleeping rough, in a hostel10.5

Use of temporary accommodation

Use of temporary accommodation has significantly increased and is one of the greatest pressures currently facing Swansea Council's Housing Department. The increase is partly due to the pandemic and the requirement for all households to be provided with accommodation irrespective of priority need status. However, the number of priority need cases was also increasing prior to the pandemic, which led to a significant increase in the use of B and B accommodation between 2017/18 and 2019/20.

Total use of Bed and Breakfast accommodations in Swansea
 2016/172017/182018/192019/202020/21
Priority need households173178244319212
Winter placements / covid placements   131293

NB Winter Plan provision commenced in 2018/19 however, the numbers were not collected separately from priority need figures.

Overall, in 2020/21 there were 585 households placed in B and B, which is a 238% increase from the 173 households placed during 2016/17.

Bed and breakfast is not the preferred form of temporary accommodation and Swansea Council provides temporary accommodation for priority need households from its own stock of accommodation, including family temporary accommodation in several locations through the city and single accommodation via the ABBA scheme (Alternative to Bed and Breakfast) where council and RSL properties are utilised on a temporary basis for emergency accommodation. Households fleeing domestic abuse are also provided with accommodation by Women's Aid, either via a refuge or safe house.

However, the use of B and B has been the only way to accommodate the significant increase in people eligible for temporary accommodation during the pandemic as a result of Welsh Government's directive that all households who became homeless during the pandemic were to be considered in Priority Need. It has not been possible to significantly increase the number of ABBA flats used as temporary accommodation as this removes much-needed permanent accommodation from the supply of housing.

Welsh Government Phase 2 funding has been used to increase the amount of temporary supported accommodation for single households, for example Ty Tom Jones (24 units) and Bryn House Pods (4 units) but it is not enough to match demand.

B and B is used as a last resort for families, and the authority has successfully managed to keep the number of families using this type of accommodation in low numbers. An unusually high number of families were placed in B and B during 2019/20 primarily due to refurbishment taking place in the Council -run family temporary accommodation.

Families in Bed and Breakfast accommodation
 2016/172017/182018/192019/202020/21
Total number of days3039647
Total number of families825144
Average number of days3.31.51.84.61.75

Rough sleeping

The significant drop in rough sleeping in Swansea can be largely attributed to Welsh Government issuing guidance to all local authorities in March 2020 that all homeless households are to be considered vulnerable during the pandemic. Therefore, temporary accommodation was made available to those households who would not normally be in priority need and to households with no recourse to public funds. This was to ensure that people who are, or are at risk of, sleeping rough have the support and resources needed to protect themselves and adhere to public health guidance on hygiene or isolation. The Welsh Government has indicated that this will continue for the foreseeable future, and they are intending to legislate to make the policy change permanent.

In terms of the scale of the issue, prior to the pandemic, the number of people sleeping rough in Swansea averaged between 15/20 people per night. After March 2020, the numbers of rough sleepers reduced greatly, particularly in the two lockdown periods where, at times, there were no individuals sleeping rough in Swansea. Since the reopening of the day and night-time economy and the release of strict lockdown measures, the number of people sleeping rough has begun to increase and in November 2021 there was an average of 6 rough sleepers per night, measured over the monthly period. Peaks in rough sleeping are seen in the summer months, particularly August, with very low levels during the lockdown periods.

Average number rough sleepers per night
Apr-204
May-205
Jun-205
Jul-205
Aug-207
Sep-209
Oct-204
Nov-202
Dec-202
Jan-211
Feb-212
Mar-213
Apr-212
May-213
Jun-216
Jul-216
Aug-2112
Sep-2110
Oct-216
Nov-216

Since the pandemic a considerable amount of sophisticated data on rough sleeping has been collated. This has shown concerns in a number of areas including.

  1. The number of 'new' people rough sleeping that have previously not been known to homelessness services.
  2. The number of people sleeping rough who already have a tenancy.
  3. The number of people sleeping rough who have come from out of the area.

Demand for social housing

Demand for social housing is increasing with a 26% increase in waiting list applications between 2016/17 and 2020/21. Indications for the first half of 2020/21 show that the number of waiting list applications continues to increase.

Waiting list applications for council housing
2013/142730
2014/152541
2015/162381
2016/173026
2017/183296
2018/192881
2019/202780
2020/213430

A snapshot of the Council's waiting list (September 2021) shows that there were 4,639 households waiting for accommodation:

  • 26% were households who were homeless or threatened with homelessness
  • 43% were waiting list applicants with other, less severe forms of housing need
  • 31% were council tenants who have applied for a transfer to another property/area

The highest demand is for one-bed flats with 40% of households on the waiting list for this property type. The need for one-bed flats is higher amongst homeless households with 65% requiring this property type. There is also high demand for 2 and 3 bed houses.

Availability of permanent accommodation

There are high levels of need for social housing and the supply is not currently meeting demand. Having a reasonable supply of quality, affordable accommodation is crucial in meeting statutory homelessness requirements and will be essential to achieve the WG's aim to move to a model of rapid rehousing over the next five years. Current supply levels are a significant barrier to achieving this. The main factors contributing to the lack of supply include:

  • Reduction in lettings/stock turnover across all tenures due factors caused by the pandemic, for example council house lettings reduced by 30% during the pandemic due to availability.
  • Prioritisation of resources for getting one-bed properties ready in the social housing sector for re-let during the pandemic and lock down periods has led to lower availability of family accommodation.
  • Closure of letting agents, and furlough of staff during lockdown periods
  • Increasing unaffordability of the private rented sector
  • Not enough social housing to meet demand, with a particular shortage of 1 bed accommodation
  • Increasing rents in the private sector are outpacing local housing allowance and wage increases.
Comparison between local housing allowance and median rents in Swansea 2020/21
 1 bed2 bed3 bed4 bed
Local housing allowance£126£154£162£276
Median rent£103£114£121£166

In addition, increasing demand for social housing from homeless households during the pandemic has had a significant impact on the ability for households on the waiting list with less severe forms of housing need to obtain a council tenancy and has also significantly reduced the ability of tenants to transfer within the Council's stock. This has the potential to lead to worsening circumstances for households as they wait for longer periods for accommodation and risks creating the unintended consequence where a homelessness application becomes the main route to access social housing.

The chart below shows the accommodation solutions accessed to prevent or alleviate homelessness. Of particular note is the overall drop in accommodation solutions, however with a significant increase in the number of households housed by RSLs and also increased numbers housed in supported accommodation - reflective of the increase in provision enabled by Welsh Government phase 2 funding for example, Ty Tom Jones has provided an additional 24 units of accommodation. A noticeable decrease is the use of the private sector as a solution. If we are going to prevent homelessness for both single people and families going forward, then we must overcome the challenges that we face in finding affordable and suitable private rented properties.

Summary of accommodation solutions (s66 and s73)
 2016/172017/182018/192019/202020/21
Social housing LA376568658553453
Private rented accomodation287247275302202
Social housing RSL40536670102
Supported accomodation7864656898

Swansea Local Housing Market Assessment - future housing demand

In addition to the current levels of demand and housing need, Swansea's Local Housing Market Assessment carried out in 2019 showed that between 2018 - 2033 there will be a need of an extra 15,365 units of accommodation with 31% of these being affordable housing.

Population wise between 2018 - 2033 - there will be 28% increase in those 65+ and 58% increase in those aged 80+. This is due to an ageing population rather than migration. Likewise, there will be a decline in numbers in the younger age groups due to out migration.

In terms of property type the greatest need will be for 1 and 2 bedroomed properties and given the aforementioned increase in the over 65 age group there needs to be consideration given to increasing the number of accessible properties.

Complex needs - access to mental health and substance misuse support

Across all services, there is evidence of increasing numbers of individuals with complex needs, including homelessness applications with higher numbers of people assessed as being in priority need due to mental health issues, VAWDASV referrals presenting with increased levels of need and increasing numbers of young people with complex needs.

In particular large numbers of individuals require mental health and substance misuse support, and a wide range of support organisations report that there are difficulties accessing this type of support. Case studies have been collated to evidence this.

Tenancy support

The demand for floating support services in Swansea has remained consistently high. Additional pressures on support services were created in 2018/19 due to the welfare reforms that which led to an increased demand for welfare benefits advice and budgeting support.

During 2020/21, 1649 households were supported by the TSU and partner agencies. 

The following table shows the number of households supported broken down by type of support since 2017/18. There was a higher number of households supported in 2018/19 due to additional resources made available to mitigate the impacts of welfare reform.

Description

2017 - 2018

2018 - 2019

2019 - 2020

2020- 2021

Comments

Generic for single people (tenancy sustainability)

379

452

533

561

Includes support for refugees

Families (over 25yrs old)

261

342

346

379

 

Older Person

208

207

296

221

 

Domestic Abuse

100

78

97

106

 

Community Care (Learning difficulties and mental health issues)

74

108

90

138

 

Young Person

80

83

110

107

 

Private Rented Sector Support (in house)

79

102

14

N/A

 

Young family (under 25yrs old)

112

82

62

78

 

UC Personal Budgeting (in house)

53

424

NA

NA

Contract ended in 2019

Rapid Response (in house)

72

91

67

59

 

Total

1418

1969

1615

1649

 

Length of time households were supported

Length of time

2016/17

2017 - 2018

2018 - 2019*

2019 - 2020

2020 - 2021

0-3mths

36%

47%

55%

34%

34%

3mths-6mths

21%

21%

17%

25%

22%

6mths-1yr

25%

19%

13%

24%

28%

Over 1yr

18%

13%

10%

17% 

16%

Tenancy Support Unit (TSU) waiting list

A breakdown of the client groups indicates that the highest number waiting for support at the end of the year are from the "families over the age of 25" client group. The next largest client group on the waiting list is single people. These reflect the highest numbers of support provision as shown in the table above.

 A key aim of the Homelessness Strategy 2018-22 was to reduce the TSU's waiting lists. This has been achieved with a 64% reduction in waiting list numbers between 2016/17 and 2020/21 from 232 to 83 as shown in the chart below. The main reasons for this are that the in-house team have taken on more cases due to a shift to telephone support during the pandemic. A Hybrid model of support will be taken going forward.

There has been an increase in the number of households supported under the Community care contract, which largely relates to mental health. The TSU has seen increased referrals for mental health support. This could be attributed to the stresses of the pandemic (anxiety, loneliness, loss of income etc), social isolation, and lack of access to Community Mental Health services / GPs.

In addition, there has been a slight increase in the waiting list of older people waiting for support. It is likely that the increase is due to the pandemic in that friends/family could not visit to assist older people, many older people required assistance with social/community integration, which was something we could not provide during the pandemic but could signpost to services who could speak and give time on the phone.

Number of households on waiting list for support recorded on the 31st of March annually.

Lead need

2016 - 2017

2018 - 2019

2019 - 2020

2020 - 2021

Families (over 25)

68

16

15

22

Generic (single / couples over 25 - 54)

65

38

32

24

Young People

30

10

4

6

Domestic Abuse

28

4

0

3

Young Families

13

2

0

2

Substance Misuse

13

 

 

 

Community Care

12

6

5

13

Older People

4

6

6

13

Refugees

1

 

 

 

Total

232

82

62

83

NB Substance misuse and refugee support are both now part of the generic support contract. There is no waiting list data available for 2017/18 due to database changeover.

Joint/partnership working

A positive outcome of the pandemic has been the significant increase in effectiveness of partnership working with the housing and support sector. Particular examples include:

  • The successful development of the Homelessness Cell
  • Improved joint working with RSLs during the pandemic, particularly in response to the Phase 2 funding requirements and the need to prioritise 1 bedroom accommodation for single households.
  • Discussion taking place regarding development of a common access point for social housing in Swansea

However, there remain areas for further development, in particular the links with mental health services and the need to streamline the process when there is an urgent need for people to access substance misuse services.

Future levels of homelessness

The Homelessness Review has looked at what factors could have an impact on future levels of homelessness. Overall levels of homelessness are expected to increase and demand for accommodation and support services will continue to rise.

The pandemic has led to many challenges, specifically an increase in mental health issues and substance misuse, a rise in domestic abuse and relationship breakdown, in addition to the inevitable economic impacts. This is placing great strain on homelessness, support and accommodation services. During the past 18 months, there has been a reduction in the number of properties available to let in all types of tenure, and therefore it is likely that people will spend longer periods in temporary accommodation over the coming months.

 Other pressures arising from the pandemic will have an impact on demand for homelessness and support services; these will include:

  • Continuation of the priority need for all approach, and Welsh Government have advised they will enact future legislation to continue this approach.
  • A lack of affordable, one-bed properties.
  • Reduced turnover of permanent social housing stock due to reduced end of tenancies during the pandemic. 
  • An expected increase in evictions from the private rented sector now the eviction ban has ended.
  • The end of the furlough scheme, which is expected to lead to increases in unemployment, causing financial difficulties.
  • Increasing levels of domestic abuse and family breakdown.
  • An increase in households requiring assistance following a Home Office decision on their immigration status. 
  • Increasing demand for mental health support arising from concerns about people's mental health, caused by loneliness and the stresses of the pandemic and longer stays in Emergency Temporary Accommodation.
  • Impact on staff across the homelessness and support sector, including high stress levels, higher caseloads, more difficult working conditions for front-line staff due to managing social distancing and increased health and safety measures with challenging client groups.
  • Continued unaffordability of the private rented sector for people under 35 who are limited to shared room rent allowance Housing Benefit/Universal Credit payments.
  • The lack of one bedroom accommodation, and in particular affordable housing options for under 35 year olds (for example lack of appropriate shared housing), is likely to lead to an increase in young single people being unable to resolve their own housing issues.
  • The impact on affordability for all households caused by PR rents increasing at a higher rate than wages and the impact of the freeze of the Local Housing Allowance rate for Universal Credit claimants.
  • An increase in poverty levels following the end of the temporary £20 per week increase to Universal Credit and Working Tax Credit.
  • Prior to the pandemic there were already high and increasing levels of demand for social housing and supply is not currently meeting demand - having a reasonable supply of quality, affordable accommodation is crucial in meeting statutory homelessness requirements and to effectively support the role of prevention.
  • There are increasing numbers of people with unmet complex support needs - including but not limited to people with poor mental health, substance misuse issues, offending, learning difficulties.
  • Continued challenge of a small number of hard-to-reach people. Whilst rough sleeping has significantly reduced with good outcomes for many, there are still people with extremely complex needs which services are struggling to engage with and solutions for this cohort are diminishing.

Welsh Government priorities

In addition to external factors affecting the levels and causes of homelessness, the review has also considered Welsh Government priorities for homelessness. Welsh Government have revisited and revised their priorities in relation to homelessness in order to adapt to the impacts of the pandemic. These include:

  • A continued focus on eradicating rough sleeping with a commitment to examine the potential need for legislative reform of the "priority need test" as part of the next steps. This means that all homeless households/individuals will continue to be eligible for temporary accommodation provided by the Council regardless of vulnerability.
  • A new requirement from Welsh Government for all local authorities to develop Rapid Rehousing Transition Plans, which will show how the Council intends to move away from use of temporary accommodation over a five-year period to make the transition to a Rapid Rehousing model of homelessness. Whilst Swansea developed services both pre- and during the pandemic that use this approach, this is a significant policy change from Welsh Government. They expect to see detailed and costed plans from Local Authorities setting out how they will ensure that households/individuals spend the absolute minimum time necessary in temporary accommodation, or preferably avoid it all together, by moving straight into permanent homes, with support where needed. Welsh Government issued detailed guidance to assist Local Authorities to develop their plans and expect them to be in place by October 2022. 
  • Increased focus on the private sector. Welsh Government are keen to find ways to improve access and reduce evictions in the Private Rented sector, for example establishing Council run Social Letting Schemes. 
  • Increase the availability of permanent homes. This is one of the biggest issues facing the Council in terms of resolving homelessness. There is a lack of one-bed room properties across all tenures. 

Additional priorities for Swansea

  • Asylum Seekers and refugees - Swansea is one of the four dispersal areas in Wales. There is increasing pressure from the Home Office for the dispersal areas to take additional asylum seekers into their areas. Increased demand is also starting to come through from those refugees who have had a positive decision on their asylum application, who continued to be housed in Home Office accommodation during the pandemic but now need to be moved onto the dispersal areas.
  • Regional working - the pandemic has produced new mechanisms for working more closely with neighbouring Local Authorities in particular Neath, Port Talbot Local Authority. For example the Homelessness Cell multi-agency group set up during the pandemic. This needs to be sustained and developed going forward.

Full Homelessness Review data is available within the Statement of Need.

Housing Support Needs Analysis

Housing Support Grant funding is the majority funding source for delivery of support services to a range of groups of people including older people, vulnerable young people, care leavers, families/individuals fleeing domestic abuse, people with mental health issues, people with learning disabilities, people with substance misuse issues and households that are homeless or threatened with homelessness.

The below shows a high-level snapshot of how HSG funding is distributed for commissioned services by lead need only (using Welsh Government format). 

Distribution of HSG 2021/2022:

  • Women experiencing domestic abuse - 6%
  • People with learning disabilities - 20%
  • People with mental health issues - 20%
  • People with substance misuse issues (drug and alcohol) - 4%
  • People with physical and / or sensory disability - 1%
  • Young people with support needs (16-24) - 14%
  • Families with support needs - 5%
  • Generic support needs (25-54) - 9%
  • People of over 55 years of age with support needs - 9%
  • Generic floating support to prevent homelessness - 12%

There are no commissioned services for men experiencing Domestic Abuse in the 2021/2022 period; however there have been two specialist support services recently commissioned as a response to the VAWDASV strategic priorities. One service will specialise in supporting men who are experiencing Domestic Abuse, and a perpetrator housing support worker to address housing issues and reduce the risk of reoffending.

The graph does not show that support needs around mental health and substance misuse are significantly present as a secondary support need amongst groups such as Young People and Generic Support. This is demonstrated more clearly from data obtained from Outcome monitoring submitted by commissioned services. The Outcomes data is extracted from individual support plans and shows progress across all the sets of out outcome areas identified.

In the outcomes reporting period April 2021 to Sep 2021, 3251 individuals in Swansea were reported as either Starting, Ending or having a Review of their support plans, via the HSG Outcomes Framework, and these will form the basis of the need assessment analysis summary.

Around 30% of the services funded by the HSG do not participate in the HSG Outcomes Framework due to the model of support. Therefore, the figure 3251 does not fully represent the number of people in receipt of support, which is envisaged to be much higher. Examples of services that do not submit outcomes are Drop-In services, Local Area Coordination and Outreach Health Board staff. These services submit 6 monthly 'Light Outcomes' forms, designed by Swansea's Commissioning Team or Annual Reports to demonstrate the support they have provided. Data collection mechanisms which include the outcomes light information and capture the total number of people who receive support across all service models are being developed to fully demonstrate the value of the Housing Support Grant Programme to the City and County of Swansea residents.

During the 6 months evaluated, 799 individuals ended support with over 60% no longer requiring support as their support needs were met, however this percentage may be higher as 11% recorded "other" as a reason for closure. It is intended to undertake further analysis to examine 'other' closure reasons.

Reasons for Support Ending

  • Housing related support needs met - 322
  • Health need stabilised - 6
  • Moved to sustainable accomodation - 61
  • Transfer to another support agency - 12
  • Moved to long term supported housing - 27
  • Moved to short term supported housing - 30
  • Moved to sheltered housing - 9
  • Moved out of area - 16
  • Moved to a care home - 13
  • Entered a long stay hospital / hospice - 5
  • Entered a mental health unit - 6
  • Non engagement - 142
  • Deceased - 48
  • Went to prison - 13
  • Other - 89

Homelessness Status at start and end of support

A general overview shows us that in a 6-month period, 2159 service users received support to successfully remain in their own home, preventing them from becoming homeless. We are continuing to strengthen our preventative approach to homelessness, using early intervention to reduce statutory service involvement and avoiding escalation of issues leading to crisis situations. This has included an increase in housing-related support to prevent homelessness for people who are underrepresented or harder to reach delivered through a range of additional services.

Homelessness status at start and end of support
 StartEnd
Homeless31550
At threat of homelessness within 56 days15315
In interim accomodation351110
Need support to remain in own home2389230
Maintaining stable accomodation independently 6+ months 0363

Outcomes Framework Summary

In a 6-month period 2159 people were supported to successfully remain in their own home, preventing them from becoming homeless and potentially requiring temporary accommodation.

Nearly all individuals supported via the Housing Support Programme requested support to help manage their accommodation and money, whether in fixed site accommodation or in their own homes. The financial impact of the pandemic, the increase in costs of private rented accommodation, a rise in the cost of living and increasing energy costs contribute to reasons why people have been unable to successfully maintain accommodation and manage financially. A specialist Welfare Rights resource has been commissioned specifically for Homelessness Services and Housing Support Grant funded provision to improve access to support and advice with welfare benefits. 

Over half (56%) of service users in short-term temporary accommodation, and alternatives to bed and breakfast accommodation disclosed substance misuse issues. Three quarter of those experiencing substance misuse issues were drug users, whilst only a quarter were alcohol misusers. Data analysed has shown a decrease in alcohol misuse amongst younger adults and an increase in poly drug abuse. 33% of this cohort also disclosed criminal offending behaviour.

An especially high correlation was seen between men aged 30-45-year-old with substance misuse support needs and self-disclosed mental-health support needs. A third of women experiencing Domestic Abuse also disclosed having issues with their mental health, whilst 44% of young people aged 16-24yrs had self-disclosed mental health problems. It is a priority to continue and strengthen partnerships with mental health and substance misuse services via connection with the West Glamorgan Area Planning Board, Health and HSG funded services to prevent homelessness for people who experience additional challenges in accessing and sustaining support and accommodation.

HSG and Outcomes data full analysis is available within the Statement of Need document

Temporary Accommodation Needs Analysis

Homelessness data and information collected by the Housing Support Grant Team is used to understand the demand and needs of people accessing temporary supported accommodation.

There has been a consistent increase in the length of time individuals are spending in B and B each year, as well as an increase in the numbers of 'priority need' individuals in B and B. In March 2020 the pressures with emergency temporary accommodation increased as those who would not have been accommodated in the past were accommodated as Covid placements due to the suspension of non- priority need.

Prison Leavers have represented the highest number of those owed a section 73 duty to help to secure accommodation every year since 2016. Therefore, the need to work with HMPS and Probation Services Wales as well as key voluntary sector partners to review the effectiveness of the Prisoner Pathway is critical in improving the accommodation and support options for prisoners when released from prison.

Early indicators suggest the transition to a Rapid Rehousing approach will assist in reducing the length of time spent in temporary accommodation, keeping it as brief as possible. In order to further facilitate reduced time spent in temporary supported accommodation there is a need for an increase in the availability of suitable and affordable one-bedroom accommodation. Without this the strategic transition to a housing-led Rapid Rehousing approach will not be feasible.

By analysing the demand on temporary supported accommodation projects, it was found that on average 74% of service users are male, with the majority being aged 35yrs and above. Self-disclosed mental health and substance misuse issues were identified as support needs for nearly half of those in temporary supported accommodation.

The Housing First support model has proven its success with a small group of individuals with complex needs, with their housing situation becoming more stable than prior to using this model. We will continue to use this approach to improve outcomes for people with multiple disadvantages, aiming to reduce repeat homelessness and eliminate the need for individuals to sleep rough.

Increased analysis of move on reasons and evictions has provided a better understanding of the day-to-day pressures in this sector. The continued partnership working between stakeholders via mechanisms such as the Swansea Homeless Services Coordination Cell meetings will continue to improve service development.

The full temp accommodation data analysis is available within the Statement of Need document.

Systems Thinking Review

The Systems Thinking review process over six days was co-productive with attendees fully engaged with a solution-focused approach proposing many ideas and suggestions to improve the offer available and overcome barriers for people experiencing homelessness. While six days was a significant commitment there was a huge value in having the specified time to generate alternatives and possibilities, helping with creativity in solving problems and finding opportunities to improve services. The following key themes from the review are outlined below.

  • Housing Supply - lack of suitable and affordable one-bed accommodation. Lack of supply and availability resulting in longer stays and an increase in the number of people in temporary accommodation.
  • Allocation - clarity of different options, simplified access criteria, availability of temporary supported accommodation / inability to access temporary accommodation out of hours / need for an emergency mental health bed for people in crisis.
  • Housing Support - difficulty in accessing the right support at the right time. This included professional mental health support in a crisis. It was emphasised that this would be beneficial even if only for advice on implementing effective strategies. Support for people with substance misuse issues with co-occurring mental health problems. Targeting support / pathways at an early stage for high-risk groups, preventing homelessness and reduction in repeat homelessness.
  • Information Sharing - clarity on roles and responsibilities, people using services would like to only tell their story once/ improved mechanisms for sharing information / communication / awareness of timescales/ who to contact etc.

A range of smaller working groups have been established to progress and further develop some of the potential solutions which will contribute to reshaping and remodelling current provision and the development of the Housing Support Programme Strategy and the Rapid Rehousing Transition Plan.

Young People

Adult Services, Child and Family Services and Homelessness are jointly undertaking a commissioning review of supported accommodation and floating support for young people. A service assessment has been completed considering existing accommodation and support options for young people 16- 25 including care leavers and young people presenting as homeless. The service assessment included reference to key reports, strategies and legislation, analysis of data and statistics from homelessness, HSG outcomes, the Supported Accommodation Pathway (SAP), a provider engagement event and survey with stakeholders, and consultation with young people.

The service assessment concluded that suitable accommodation and the right support at the right time is the overall objective for young people, stakeholders, and commissioners. Throughout consultation young people recognise the value of relationships with staff, and safe, accessible accommodation with choice and opportunities. The discussions with young people also indicate they are looking for a home to stay in rather than moving around. Additional work co-productively with young people to explore what home means will enable service models to further develop in line with young people's expectations.

There have been 259 referrals to SAP in 2019 and 2020. The three highest support needs of young people referred to SAP were young and vulnerable, family relationships and homelessness, with 59% of young people referred due to family breakdown. Most young people accessing SAP are referred by the Youth Homeless Service. In 2019 out of 138 referrals 58 young people were youth homeless, with 29 young people referred who were LAC (Looked After Children) and 26 who were care leavers.

The data showed that 72% of referrals selected temporary supported accommodation. Many of these services are well established and known to young people and professionals supporting them. It is important to note that the choices around accommodation are limited by the service's eligibility criteria's, practitioners' guidance, at times age or status and most importantly capacity of each service such as if they are full when they are requested.

Desirable outcomes include independent living, returning to family and reducing the support required such as moving on to floating support, working towards the ability to be independent without reliance on formal services. For 2019 and 2020 data shows that 58%of young people who had been referred through SAP had a desirable outcome.

The current accommodation pathway prioritises accommodation needs of 16 and 17 year olds. During 2019 and 2020 SAP data shows that 78% of young people were aged 16 or 17 at point of referral. Post 18 the demand decreases, however accommodation providers are often only able to offer placements to young people over 18. Going forward, further work is needed to understand what happens to young people over 18 ensuring that accommodation and support services meet the needs of all age groups.

Data and liaison with stakeholders show an increase in the deterioration of young people's mental health. Work has started to embed therapeutic approaches within service models to ensure the support or training is in place to retain and upskill staff. Further investment in understanding and embedding the best therapeutic approach ensuring services can support young people experiencing challenges and build relationships. Additional funding has been provided for a young person's mental health outreach resource to support young people experiencing mental health issues and to provide support and guidance to staff supporting young people

SAP data shows that emergency accommodation, which is a short-term solution, has the lowest length of stay. It would however appear that there are barriers to moving on from emergency accommodation. This could be due to a lack of appropriate move on options leaving the young person with little option but to stay longer than needed. The impact of this is limited emergency accommodation available for further young people in crisis.

SAP data shows there are times when young people are not offered accommodation in the first instance due to a range of multiple needs or risk. This is a small percentage of the overall figures, and these young people ultimately go on to access accommodation. There are also a number of young people who withdraw from the process, and further work is in progress to understand this in more detail and provide solutions such as is withdrawal due to the length of wait to access the accommodation they want or are they accessing support to help repair family relationships enabling them to stay at home.

It is important to remember for a lot of young people the current services are meeting their support and accommodation needs. Recent developments include the introduction of training flats, an expansion of self-contained managed accommodation, a permanent supported housing model for young people (Housing First) and the expansion of Supported Lodgings to provide accommodation and support to young people with multiple needs. Investing in managed accommodation, training flats and permanent supported accommodation appear to provide desirable outcomes and reflect what is important to young people such as less moves, independence, right support at the right time.

Most current models include multiple moves for young people through an accommodation pathway. However, the development of the permanent supported housing model which is at pilot stage explores long-term or permanent housing models. As it is still a pilot, conclusions are yet to be made around if it 'works.' Considering the limitations of more traditional service models in line with what the presenting needs are could lead to increased adaptability and flexibility of resources and an improved ability to meet multiple needs. This would be enhanced with a shared risk-taking approach to meet the needs of young people moving away from a "tenancy ready" approach.

Spot purchased accommodation is a costly option utilised to respond to accommodation and support for complex young people who cannot access other service models due to complexity of needs or lack of availability. While spot purchasing is attractive and responsive in the first instance; providing smaller setting where young people have more bespoke support arrangements in place which do not impact other young people. However overall outcomes are not as desirable; young people are more likely to experience multiple moves and have an ongoing need for support and accommodation. This is partly due to spot purchased accommodation only supporting young people up to the age of 18. Future commissioning will look to address the accommodation and support needs of young people with multiple disadvantages to improve outcomes for young people and mitigate the risk of increasing costs associated with spot purchasing.

Recognising Swansea specific issues that influence young people is vital; locally the contextual safeguarding approach is used to understand and respond to trends such as county lines and acute challenges seen in city environments. Swansea is also seeing increasing numbers of young people coming into the care system at an older age with multiple complex needs. The contextual safeguarding approach is important when considering future plans and development of accommodation and support options for young people; the location of accommodation as well as the mix of young people both need careful thought and a risk assessing if desirable outcomes for young people are to be achieved consistently.

The full Supported Accommodation Pathway Data Analysis is available within the Statement of Need document.

Swansea Violence Against Women, Domestic Abuse and Sexual Violence (VAWDASV) Strategy

During the first six months of 2020/21 services were limited due to lockdown measures in place, and there was reduced activity and movement across the population. This could have resulted in difficulties for people experiencing DA to access services during the lock down period and meant that they had fewer opportunities to report or leave. Less face-to-face contact may have led to less support and encouragement to move on.

Refuge services also reported difficulties during the pandemic including the need to protect the health of vulnerable survivors already in the service, some of which may be self-isolating. Also, the need for additional personal protection equipment (PPE) and the deep cleaning of communal and refuge spaces before a new survivor could be accommodated can result in a reduction in available places.

There was, however, an increase in demand for community-based VAWDASV advice and support. The Swansea VAWDASV monitoring framework has reported a significant increase in referrals to VAWDASV schemes which offer telephone and face-to-face (limited during Pandemic) support and advice to women experiencing domestic abuse. The schemes also reported an increase in women with mental ill health, suicidal feelings and complexity of needs. The difficulty in supporting women facing multiple support needs who cannot sustain stays in refuge accommodation or cannot access refuge due to the level of support needs was identified as a key area of concern.

There is recognition that some individuals experience difficulties in accessing support. Specialist workers have been recruited to support older people, men and LGBTQ+ victims to raise awareness, provide advice and information, promote and implement safety measures and to address barriers to accessing support including stigma and lack of provision. The information and data received will assist with the improvement of VAWDASV services to ensure support is accessible for all individuals experiencing domestic abuse provision.

Independent Domestic Violence Advisers (IDVAs) work with high-risk victims of domestic abuse, providing a specialist service with a focus on safety, court support and advocacy. The vast majority of referrals come from the police, demonstrating that this continues to be the primary source of contact for high-risk victims when reporting. IDVA referrals have not reduced but have steadily increased year on year despite the pandemic; additional IDVA posts have been created to meet the increasing demand.

It is important to note that not everyone experiencing VAWDASV needs to go through the homelessness route. People experiencing VAWDASV shouldn't have to move home to feel safe. There is commitment across Swansea to address the behaviour of perpetrators of domestic abuse, with several accredited interventions available including Equilibrium, DRIVE, Building Better Relationships and additional funding for a Housing Support worker to work with perpetrators. One of the key objectives of the Swansea VAWDASV Strategy is holding perpetrators to account and providing opportunities to change their behaviour based around victim safety.

There has been increased funding to provide alternative options for women to remain safely within their home by increasing funding for target hardening measures. The VAWDASV Strategy has identified the following commissioning priorities based on the strategic objectives which link to the Housing Support Programme Strategy.

  1. Complex need/ multiple disadvantage accommodation and support
  2. Accommodation for those affected by sexual exploitation
  3. Older people support provision
  4. Support specifically for male victims
  5. LGBTQ awareness and specialised support
  6. Primary prevention

A full analysis of the VAWDASV Monitoring Document is available within the Statement of Need document

Mental Health and Learning Disability Needs Assessment.

The number of homeless people found in priority need under Housing Act because mental illness/ learning disability

16/17

17/18

18/19

19/20

20/21

Vulnerable due to mental illness/learning disabilities

23

25

30

50

49

 

Tenancy Support Unit - Floating Support

Number of households supported in year

17/18

18/19

19/20

20/21

 Learning difficulties and mental health issues

74

108

90

138

Mental Health

Mental Health is consistently high as an identified support need by individuals in support plans across all types of service provision in the Housing Support Grant outcomes framework. It is also one of the main reasons for priority need homelessness decisions.

Operational experiences report examples of behaviour and vulnerability due to mental health issues impacting on safety, vulnerability, and ability to sustain accommodation and to be moved on without appropriate multiagency support.

Amongst people who present as homeless the majority who have mental health needs would be managed via the GP and primary care mental health services. However, these individuals appear to have challenges in gaining the appropriate support from Health Services including difficulty registering with GP practices due to a lack of fixed abode and or forms of identification requested such as driving licenses, passport or utility bills and as a consequence presents barriers for accessing the primary and secondary mental health referral routes which are via GP referral only.

For some, mental health issues are co-occurring with substance misuse. This is often perceived as self-medicating and those individuals face even more difficulties accessing clinical support. Challenges such as rough sleeping and moving through temporary emergency accommodation can present additional barriers in maintaining contact. The completion of applications online without smart phones or phone credit and transport to appointments can also present additional difficulties. This impacts on the Local Authority statutory homeless services, Bed and Breakfast providers and non-registered support staff who are often left providing support to people in mental health distress with little medical/clinical expertise.

Swansea has responded to these challenges by forming close links with the primary care enhanced GP surgery which hosts a general homeless outreach nurse and a part-time homeless mental health outreach nurse. In 2020 through Phase 2 funding and with the uplift in HSG in 2021/22 the Authority funded a second part time non-statutory Homeless Mental Health Outreach Nurse and two specialist non statutory homeless outreach substance misuse workers to work with the homeless cohort. Additionally, the Local Authority is in negotiation with the Child and Adolescent Mental Health Service to host a HSG funded non-statutory youth homeless mental health outreach nurse to work specific with the 16 plus age range who present as homeless and are placed in emergency and temporary supported housing. Swansea has also commissioned additional units of temporary supported accommodation commissioned for homeless people with mental health issues.

Secondary Mental Health - Housing Support Grant Services

Opportunities for Accommodation and Support in Swansea (OASIS) offers a mixed range of recovery focused temporary and longer-term accommodation and support services which are open to referrals by the Community Mental Health team and supported accommodation for those being discharged from hospital/residential care or are at risk of homeless in the community. There is a central panel/gateway approach to allocation and waiting lists.

Analysis of the OASIS data shows an increase in time spent in temporary supported accommodation. This can be attributed to challenges in the supply of self-contained move-on accommodation (most are single people requiring 1 bed accommodation) and therefore reduced availability for urgent referrals. 

Where support needs remain but at a lower level there appears to be a need for more longer-term supported accommodation. The need for longer term accommodation has been thrown into sharper focus during the pandemic. There is a waiting list for longer term supported living for females only shared accommodation. Current provision has shown lower demand due to the shared nature (shared bathrooms). Going forward any new shared provision would all be ensuite.

Swansea has already taken forward some re-provision of the existing accommodation moving toward a dispersed cluster model of self-contained accommodation with additional self-contained units made available in Spring 2022.

Learning Disability.

There are a number of people who are considered as vulnerable and in priority need with learning difficulties presenting as homeless. These individuals face significant challenges and have a requirement for support even though they have not met the clinical eligibility for secondary health and social care services. This adds in another dimension to a complex need group which presents challenges to secure appropriate permanent accommodation.

Secondary Learning Disability - Housing Support Grant and Social Care funded services

Where individuals meet the eligibility for secondary health and social care services a range of Supported Living provision provides housing-related support services to approximately 290 people in long term supported accommodation. Supported Living provision has recently been recommissioned to see a service transition to 8 providers appointed to an approved framework supplying services across geographical zones. This model is focusing on community integration, making more effective use of informal networks and maximizing progression to greater independence.

The main changes in the patterns of demand are that there is a growing need for supported living services. This is due to the higher expectations for individuals with a learning disability to be able to access normal patterns of living and to be able to have their own tenancy. The main areas of emerging trends are that there are more individuals with greater support and health needs accessing supported living and more individuals with challenging behaviours.

The requests for supported living in the learning disability sector is due to it being a successful model of delivery and individuals' families and advocates stating this is what the individual prefers and aligns with national guidance - Developing improved and progressive practice National Commissioning Board March 2019.

2c Conclusion

We need to be mindful of how the pandemic has impacted on the findings within the needs assessment and how we strategically plan future needs given the potential rise in homelessness over the next few years. Based on the information from the needs assessment there are a number of priority areas that we will focus on including:

  • The need to dedicate resources to tackle the increase in homelessness presentations and in particular the increase in need for temporary accommodation.
  • Consider increasing the supply of suitable temporary accommodation in the short and medium term for both single people and families, and thereby reducing the need for bed and breakfast accommodation.
  • Increase the levels of permanent accommodation, which is affordable and suitable to meet the needs of all homeless households.
  • A need to continue to focus on the prevention of homelessness, rather than dealing with crisis situations.
  • Adopt a rapid rehousing approach in order to reduce repeat homelessness and provide a more robust offer which will enable housing providers to accept homeless households. Including young people and those with complex needs.
  • Work in partnership with mental health and substance misuse services to improve the offer of support and accommodation for those with complex needs.
  • Continue to look at innovative ways to eliminate rough sleeping.
  • Work with VAWDASV services to develop a number of actions in tackling domestic abuse.
  • Ensure that all housing support is provided 'on demand' and in a timely fashion to avoid the need for crisis situations.
  • Partnership working, both locally and regionally, is essential if we are to prevent homelessness.
  • Develop a commissioning plan to transform future service delivery which reflects the needs and priorities identified in the needs assessment and improves outcomes for people experiencing homelessness.
  • Develop a set of measures that will inform needs and priorities and accurately report progress towards ending homelessness and support WG's new Homelessness Outcomes Framework.
  • Continue to progress and widen PIE and trauma-informed approaches across housing and support sector.
  • Incorporate co-production principles and activities within service development and delivery.

3. Strategic Priorities

Swansea's strategic priorities for homelessness prevention and housing-related support over the next four years are as follows. Although they are numbered, they are not listed in any priority order:

Strategic Priority 1

Strengthen and increase services in place to prevent homelessness.

Why is it a priority?

Early intervention and prevention are the most effective way to avoid homelessness. The Strategy aims to target prevention by reducing the possibility of problems arising, targeting support at groups of people that may be at greater risk, and providing interventions to avoid problems escalating. The availability of community-based options is an effective tool to undertake early intervention and prevention of homelessness.

How will it be delivered?

Local Area Coordination (LAC) in Swansea is an important early intervention approach for people to find help and support and build relationships within the Community. The support/funding of LAC roles aims to strengthen communities, reduce statutory service involvement, and avoid escalation of issues leading to crisis situations, people becoming homeless and/ or needing statutory intervention. We aim to provide coverage for all community areas in Swansea.

There has also been increased support provision to prevent homelessness and understand the barriers for people who are harder to reach. This has been delivered through a range of additional services funded by HSG including:

  • SWAN Project worker - support for women exploited by the sex industry
  • LGBTQ+ / Male / Older Person VAWDASV support worker
  • Accommodation support worker to assist male perpetrators of domestic abuse
  • Specialist Welfare Rights resource to support Homelessness and Housing Support Grant provision

To provide a better representation of the improved service offered to tenants the Swansea Council Sheltered Housing service is now named Independent Living Services. On-call systems are being upgraded from analogue to digital, which will allow more assistive technology for tenants and help them to continue to live independently. A handyperson has also been appointed to assist residents with small tasks such as changing a lightbulb or putting up a shelf which will assist some less able tenants or those who have no family providing them with greater confidence to live independently.

Pro-active promotion of Housing Options, homelessness, housing advice and tenancy support services including social media and press is essential to raise awareness and improve the rapid accessibility of services to prevent homelessness and encourage people seek support at the earliest opportunity.


Strategic priority 2

Ensuring appropriate support is available at the right time for people who are at risk or are experiencing homelessness.

Why is this a priority?

The availability and accessibility of good quality housing related support can be essential at the commencement of tenancy to resettle someone when they are offered stable accommodation and during a tenancy as a prevention tool to stop problems escalating.

There are people in the community who are facing challenges moving toward crisis which will impact on their ability to maintain their accommodation. It is essential that referrals for support are responsive, working alongside landlord services to offer support at the earliest opportunity to prevent any escalation of difficulties. Rapid crisis intervention is also an essential component of support provision and has been extremely effective in preventing evictions.

During consultation, people experiencing homeless fed back on their experience of living in Bed and Breakfast accommodation while waiting to move on to stable accommodation. They told us you "can't live a good life" and reported a deterioration in their mental health and physical health and an increase in substance misuse. It was felt that support should be allocated as soon as they were placed in emergency temporary accommodation.

How will it be delivered?

The continued provision of responsive and accessible support will help to address issues at the earliest opportunity, prevent issues from escalating, and enable people to sustain their accommodation and prevent homelessness.

Data collection and monitoring will be improved to monitor demand and ensure equity in support provision and availability across all client groups.

Conclusions from the systems thinking review will be utilised to inform the development of a consistent simplified pathway for individuals to access and move on from temporary accommodation; aiming to reduce the amount of time people spend in temporary accommodation and ensure the right support is available to meet individual needs.

There has been an increase in resources for rapid rehousing to enhance the availability of proactive support, building engagement, developing skills and confidence and supporting access to other appropriate services to stabilize and move on to stable longer-term accommodation.


Strategic Priority 3

To adopt a Rapid Rehousing approach.

Why is this a priority?

"Where prevention has not worked, Rapid Rehousing is then essential to reduce the corrosive impact of homelessness and ensure it is unrepeated. The benefits of secure, settled and self-contained housing for people who have experienced or been at risk of homelessness should not be underestimated. The majority of people experiencing homelessness should be provided with such homes as quickly as possible. This will help avoid the destabilising and marginalising effects of prolonged homelessness or prolonged stays in emergency or temporary settings while remaining homeless. Rapid rehousing is based upon a systematic approach to understanding what housing is needed, how that housing is going to be funded, developed and allocated to people who find themselves homeless. This approach, when properly applied, means the need for many forms of temporary accommodation will diminish and where it is needed, is for a shorter period than currently. Rapid rehousing transition plans guidance (PDF) [815KB] October Welsh Government 2021.

Swansea like other Local Authority areas, is experiencing record levels of people in emergency temporary accommodation and an increase in homeless presentations. There has also been a consistent increase in the length of time individuals are spending in temporary and Bed and Breakfast accommodation. People experiencing homelessness have reported that extended periods in temporary accommodation, especially Bed and Breakfast accommodation has a negative effect on their health and wellbeing and leads to escalating needs and negative outcomes.

How will it be delivered?

The focus of rapid rehousing support is to help people move into settled accommodation ensuring the right support is in place. All local authorities are required to develop a Rapid Rehousing Transition Plan in partnership with key stakeholders. The five-year transition plan will set out how Swansea Council will move towards providing more sustainable models of accommodation and support that meet the needs of everyone; moving away from the use of temporary accommodation to a system that assesses needs quickly and identifies the most appropriate option that meets the needs and wishes of the individual. A Temporary Accommodation Supported Housing Commissioning Review is also in progress aiming to reshape and remodel temporary supported accommodation with a move towards more community-based options.

Swansea has already introduced elements of a Rapid Rehousing approach during the pandemic for example with introduction of Rapid Rehousing Support to those in Bed and Breakfast accommodation and attached to temporary supported accommodation schemes. The implementation is being closely monitored by regular data collection and additional data measures including monitoring the use and length of time spent in temporary accommodation. Rapid Rehousing Review meetings with partners are also regularly held to learn from experiences, improve outcomes and overcome challenges.

Housing First is one form of the rapid rehousing approach. Swansea has already commissioned and extended further its Housing First provision. A second young person's Housing First scheme is also in place funded directly by the Welsh Government.


Strategic priority 4

Continue to develop and improve partnership working with key stakeholders to ensure a joined-up approach to homelessness prevention.

Why is this a priority?

Prevention and alleviating homelessness are not just a housing problem. It requires a range of both statutory, third sector and voluntary sector organisations to work collaboratively to be effective in reducing homelessness. The following are some of the critical partner agencies:

Prison and Probation Services: There continues to be high numbers of prison leavers who are homeless on release.

Health and Social Care: People with health and social care needs can be the most vulnerable and need other services to be able to sustain stable accommodation in the community. There should be robust hospital discharge protocols in place taking account of housing needs. This will assist in prevention of delayed discharges and homeless presentations direct from hospital.

Landlords both registered Social and Private Rented: to improve access to housing supply for homeless people and to support transition to a Rapid Rehousing Approach to homelessness.

Third Sector and Voluntary Sector Agencies -providing both commissioned and non-commissioned support services deliver homeless housing related support and other Services.

How will it be delivered?

The Homelessness and Housing Support Grant Collaborative Forum will continue to be supported and facilitated by the Local Authority providing opportunities for key stakeholders to inform and influence the development of strategic priorities and responses to prevent and alleviate homelessness.

The continuation of the recently established Multi Agency Coordination Cell will provide a vital contribution to understanding and identifying issues, priorities, actions and solutions particularly in relation to rough sleeping, substance misuse and access to mental health services.

Housing and the Housing Support Grant Teams will continue attendance at the Regional Partnership Board and Regional Housing Forum to inform and support the development of strategic priorities across housing, health and social care delivering regional and local transformation to deliver better outcomes for citizens.

Further work will be undertaken with Probation and key voluntary sector partners to annually review the effectiveness of the Prisoner Pathway.

The Local Authority has developed constructive relationships with Registered Social Landlords operating with the Swansea boundaries to meet the needs of homeless households. Going forward further work will be carried out to improve access into housing and the allocation of accommodation including more alignment of allocation policies.

The Local Authority will continue to work in partnership with Primary Care and GP networks to improve options for people with mental health and substance misuse issues. This will also include working in partnership with the Area Planning Board to explore funding options to establish and sustain a multi-agency complex needs team.


Strategic priority 5

Work in partnership to strengthen support provision for people with complex needs, including mental health, learning disability, substance misuse and VAWDASV.

Why is it a priority?

Prevention and alleviating homelessness is not just a housing problem. For some this is a more complex problem. By complex we mean that the homeless individuals have more than one and up to four specialist support needs and may include health and social care needs in addition to their homelessness and housing support needs. Terms such as co-occurring, dual diagnosis, multiple overlapping unmet needs (MOUN) and people with multiple challenges are used.

These individuals present as homeless, often in crisis without health and social care services being involved or having been unable to engage with them. They are often described as slipping through the net or between the gaps in services.

People with health and social care needs can be the most vulnerable and other services are essential to be able to sustain stable accommodation in the community. If not meeting criteria for secondary health and social care services they may have eligible social care needs around advice and information and early intervention and prevention needs under the Social Care and Wellbeing Act and Liberty Protection Safeguarding needs. Housing Support and health and care service will need to work together to ensure that people reach their maximum independence and prevent needs from increasing where possible.

Homeless data shows an increase in presentations from people with multiple needs particularly Mental Health, Learning Disabilities and Substance Misuse. Many are in a repeat cycle of homelessness, remaining in temporary accommodation for too long and / or being evicted. Rough sleeping is reduced but reaching solutions for people with multiple needs remains a challenge.

The HSG outcomes framework also showed a high number of people experiencing mental health issues across all service areas. Approximately 15% of people who are supported due to their mental health also disclosed substance misuse issues. Over half of service users in short-term temporary accommodation disclosed substance misuse issues. The Tenancy Support Unit, which is the central route to access floating support, has also reported an increase in referrals for mental health support.

Difficulty accessing primary and secondary mental health support for people experiencing or at risk of homelessness was frequently raised as a significant challenge by stakeholders and people that use services within the Systems Thinking Review of temporary supported accommodation. The difficulty in accessing support is exacerbated if individuals are also experiencing substance misuse issues.

In addition, those with serious substance misuse issues are often the hardest to find sustainable accommodation for. Housing First provision has recently been commissioned in Swansea for those with the most complex needs. Key findings of the individuals supported demonstrate positive outcomes with people accessing support and becoming settled in their tenancy. The provision of permanent accommodation with support in place has shown success in reducing the repeated cycle of homelessness and the use of temporary accommodation. However, to sustain this other wrap around services are essential.

HSG outcomes information and feedback from providers have indicated a decline in young people's mental health. Therapeutic approaches are becoming embedded in practice and a PIE trauma informed approach in the provision of support is now a contractual requirement for HSG funded provision. The development of a specialist resource to provide mental health support to young people in temporary supported accommodation and to also provide support and develop the skills of support workers is in progress.

How will it be delivered?

It is essential that the statutory health and social care service works collaboratively with housing to address these needs so that stable accommodation can be provided. The key areas for further work are listed below:

Primary Health Care: People experiencing homelessness continue to face additional challenges and barriers in accessing basic health care services such as GPs due to the temporary nature of emergency temporary accommodation such as Bed and Breakfast accommodation. They often do not or cannot access the assessment for clinical assessments required for secondary services because of these barriers and the complexity of need.

Secondary Health Service Commissioners: A number of homeless people also experience Mental Health, Learning Disabilities and Substance Misuse issues. Wrap around crisis intervention and assessment and treatment service are essential to enable stable and sustainable housing solutions. For a smaller cohort, these health issues can co-occur. Due to the cross-cutting issues here work at a regional level at the Health Social Care and Partnership Board and with the Regional Area Planning Board for Substance Misuse services will be required.

The ARWAIN specification developed by stakeholders sets out what an appropriate multidisciplinary service would look like for the region. In the interim Swansea has committed Housing Support Grant funding to sustain and increase non statutory but qualified and specialist homeless outreach mental health and substance misuse services as a priority. It continues to be a priority to engage statutory services to address the needs of homeless individuals who face additional barriers to access mainstream services and fall between gaps due to their complexity. 

Social Care: People who are homeless or threatened with homelessness as well as housing support needs may also have eligible social care needs around advice, information and early intervention and prevention needs and Liberty Protection Safeguards. Housing Support and Social Care services will need to work together to ensure that people reach their maximum independence and prevent needs from increasing where possible. 

Young People: A key aim of the young person commissioning review is to ensure that accommodation and support options can respond to young people with complex needs. A Housing First project has been piloted in Swansea with early indications of successful outcomes for young people. A review of Housing First with the potential to expand the provision is in progress.

VAWDASV: Of women who accessed support within domestic abuse provision 33% identified mental health as a support need. Stakeholder feedback from VAWDASV specialist organisations highlighted the difficulty in meeting the accommodation and support needs of women with complex needs including mental health and substance misuse issues within current models of provision. A multi-agency task and finish group has been established as part of the VAWDASV Leadership Group to develop accommodation and support options for women with complex needs who are experiencing domestic abuse.


Strategic priority 6

Continue to increase the supply of suitable and affordable accommodation.

Why is this a priority?

Fundamental to preventing and alleviating homelessness is access to a supply of suitable, good quality and affordable (within the Local Housing Allowance Rate) accommodation. Currently demand for 1 bedroom accommodation far outweighs supply. This has resulted in people staying in emergency temporary accommodation and temporary supported accommodation longer than necessary. There is an increasing trend in homeless applications and a reduction in the end of tenancy rates in social housing. It is also becoming harder for people to source accommodation in the Private Rented Sector due to increasing rents and a freeze on Local Housing Allowance. The introduction of the Renting Homes (Wales) Act 2016 which increases security of tenure is positive however there is concern that this may have a negative impact on private rented landlord's willingness to accommodate people perceived as riskier tenants. Increasing access and maximising the supply of affordable 1-bedroom accommodation is critical to a successful transition to a housing-led Rapid Rehousing approach. 

How will it be delivered?

The Local Authority More Homes Programme has set a 10-year delivery target for 1000 new Council homes from 2021-2031. The Local Authority is also continuing to progress the acquisitions programme which includes prioritising 1 bed flats. The additional properties will help to alleviate the immediate crisis and assist with reducing the number of single households in Bed and Breakfast. The programme is also acquiring larger flats and houses to increase overall supply in areas of need for larger households.

The current 4 Registered Social Landlords (RSLs) who are zoned to develop in Swansea are projected to deliver over 4000 new homes over the next 10 years. The Local Authority and Registered Social Landlords (RSLs) will continue to work in partnership to maximise the number of properties available to homeless households.

The Local Authority will also continue to explore solutions with all landlords including the private rented sector to address issues of access and affordability of existing stock. To further increase the supply of suitable and affordable private rented properties it is proposed to establish a social lettings scheme for private sector properties in Swansea.

The reduction in the use of Bed and Breakfast accommodation is a key priority of the Strategy. A temporary increase in the supply of temporary accommodation provision for single people and families aims to reduce the reliance on B and B. In addition, the development of specialist VAWDASV accommodation for women who experience difficulty in accessing and sustaining current provision will ensure vulnerable women are provided with the appropriate support and accommodation to meet their needs.


Strategic priority 7

Work with service users and stakeholders to introduce regular mechanisms for engagement and co-production to inform service development and improvement

Why is this a priority?

Swansea Council Social Services has developed a Coproduction Strategy aiming to embed coproduction and give people that use services increased voice, choice and control. The Strategy identifies key stages to implement an optimum model of Coproduction. The implementation of coproduction is a cultural change and will take time to fully adopt therefore processes will be continually reviewed and developed to ensure that coproduction is making a real difference and that the process is following agreed principles.

How will this be delivered?

Coproduction principles have been incorporated into commissioning reviews by finding out what is working well, what is not working well and what matters to people to ensure people that use services influence the future design and delivery of service provision. This approach will also include events with stakeholders to explore what works well and how the design of future provision could be improved.

Coproduction is a standard requirement in contracts and associated service specifications and is measured as part of effective service delivery. How providers will implement coproduction in the delivery of services is an established method statement question within tenders; further work is also in progress to involve people that use services in the procurement process.

Coproduction methods are also being introduced to improve current service delivery, for example co-producing standards for accommodation, and service provision, ensuring engagement with the full range of people that use services. 


Strategic priority 8

Strengthen support and accommodation provision for young people.

Why is this a priority?

A young person's support and accommodation commissioning review is currently in progress. Findings from the review have been instrumental in understanding the needs, demands and determining priorities to ensure that future accommodation and support options meet the needs of young people and prevent homelessness when possible.

Both data and feedback from stakeholders showed that there has been a significant increase in young people experiencing issues with their mental health.

There are also a number of young people who are unable to be accommodated due to complexity of need and/or lack of availability in current models of provision. 

How will this be delivered?

The Supported Accommodation Pathway (SAP), which manages all referrals for accommodation recorded family relationships, being young and vulnerable and homelessness as the most common support needs identified. This shows that family mediation to prevent homelessness and /or ensure support networks are maintained can be an essential element of the options available for young people experiencing or at risk of homelessness.

Transitional workers based within temporary supported accommodation have been commissioned to improve move on and increase the availability of placements. Training Flats have also been introduced to provide young people with an opportunity to develop skills to live independently.

SAP identified that 78% of young people were 16 or 17 at point of referral. Further analysis needs to be undertaken to understand what happens to young people over 18 experiencing homelessness to ensure that accommodation and support options meet the needs of all age groups. 

Additional funding has been provided for a mental health outreach resource to support young people and to also provide support and guidance to support workers working with young people.

The development of options for young people with multiple disadvantages is a priority of the strategy. A Housing First pilot for young people has been developed and although in the initial stages the model has shown positive outcomes for the young people accommodated. A Supported Lodgings Plus provision has also been introduced extending the current scheme to provide enhanced support for young people with more complex needs.


Strategic priority 9

Provide robust responses to support rough sleepers and eliminate the need for individuals to sleep rough.

Why is this a priority?

A primary objective of the Strategy is to eliminate the need for people to sleep rough in Swansea. It is strongly anticipated that going forward, that Welsh Government suspension of priority need directive will remain in place with a possible change to legislation longer term.

Huge progress was made during the start of the pandemic in reducing rough sleeping with periods of zero rough sleepers. However, rough sleeping is starting to slowly increase again. This is due to individuals presenting with a range of complex support needs including co-occurring mental health, learning disabilities, and substance misuse issues. Despite efforts to manage anti-social behaviour, there have also been evictions from emergency temporary accommodation in exceptional circumstances.

Despite offers of emergency accommodation, as well as other forms of available accommodation, some individuals have chosen to sleep rough. Work is in place to further understand the needs and preferences of individuals to ensure options are in place for all people experiencing homelessness. 

Swansea is committed to making an offer of emergency temporary accommodation within 24 hours of being notified of a rough sleeper with a no second night out approach. However, it is becoming increasingly difficult to source emergency temporary accommodation. The number of individuals provided with emergency temporary accommodation reached an all-time high in March 2022.

How will it be delivered?

The approach in Swansea to successfully reduce the need for rough sleeping will include the continuation of a robust emergency response for rough sleepers. The extension of the Rough Sleepers Intervention Service to 7 days per week to identify, respond and engage with Rough Sleepers implemented during the pandemic will be sustained.

A review of the specific provisions available for rough sleepers will be undertaken in partnership with stakeholders to ensure that effective prevention and early intervention resources are in place including appropriate support to avoid the need for rough sleeping.

Data collection and monitoring will be reviewed and improved to understand and respond to presenting needs and demands. We will also implement mechanisms to continually engage with people who have experienced rough sleeping to ensure provision is effectively meeting their needs.

The development of a central referral gateway for temporary supported accommodation will aim to provide an effective pathway to assist people experiencing homelessness to receive the right support and accommodation to meet their needs reducing the likelihood of repeat homelessness and potentially rough sleeping.

4. Stakeholder engagement

4a Stakeholders engaged with

As part of the strategy development a range of different mechanisms are utilised to provide opportunities for stakeholders to influence the future development of homelessness and support services.

The different methods of engagement and collaboration are described below:

4b. Stakeholder feedback

Service Users

Client Survey

A survey was completed to gather the views of people who are/or have, in the last two years, used homelessness and housing support services. The purpose of the survey was to collect the views of people who have used housing support services and experienced homelessness so that they have the chance to influence the future development of homelessness and support services. The findings informed the strategic priorities and the actions required to achieve them. An easy read version was developed to maximize responses and ensure views and experiences are considered from a variety of client groups.

Service User Consultation as part of the Systems Thinking Review

As part of the Temporary Accommodation Review Swansea Council engaged with consultants to undertake a review of the temporary supported accommodation pathway from the perspective of what matters to people that receive a service.

A fieldwork team consulted with 47 individuals who have been through temporary accommodation asking a range of set questions of what matters to them to help establish if the current system captures what matters and how we could improve. Feedback from the fieldwork team helped to define the purpose, value work and key principles in the provision of temporary supported accommodation. The key themes and learning from the conversations with people that have used temporary supported accommodation have contributed to the conclusions of the Systems Thinking Review facilitated by external consultants and informed the Housing Support Programme needs assessment.

Stakeholders

Stakeholder Survey

A survey with stakeholders helped to shape the strategic priorities for Housing Support Grant funded support services and homelessness prevention for the next four years. The survey findings have been used to inform the Strategy and the actions required to achieve them.

Subsequent to the receipt and analysis of the responses from both the stakeholder and service use consultation priorities were discussed and reviewed in the HSG and Homelessness Collaborative Forum.

Systems Thinking Review

As part of the Temporary Accommodation Review Swansea Council engaged with consultants to undertake a review of the temporary supported accommodation pathway. The review was from the perspective of what matters to people that receive a service including the views of people that work within the service. Consultation was undertaken with a total of 28 staff and key partners within the third sector and statutory sector. A standard set of questions were asked to understand what it feels like working in the service, to understand how services are designed and managed. The key themes and learning from staff consultation have contributed to the conclusions from the Review and will inform future service redesign.

Overall Summary of Key Findings

The full details of the findings from all the consultation processes will be available on request. Across all the consultation responses, clear, common issues and views that emerged were used to develop the strategic priorities and actions for the strategy.

5. Impact assessments

5a Impact assessment process

A key principle of this strategy is to ensure equality of access to services and promote social inclusion and community cohesion.

An Integrated Impact Assessment (IIA) screening document has been completed as part of the Housing Support Programme Strategy.

Engagement, consultation and coproduction will be incorporated into the future development and delivery of the Housing Support Programme in collaboration with key stakeholders to ensure a joined-up approach to homelessness prevention and housing related support ultimately aiming to improving people's outcomes.

The actions identified seek to support individuals to overcome any inequalities of access to affordable housing and support vulnerable individuals to sustain settled homes in which to build their futures. It is envisaged that the impact of the Housing Support Programme will result in improved services and be wholly positive for individuals experiencing homelessness both now and in the future. 

6. Implementing, monitoring and reviewing the Strategy. 

6a Working with partners

There are a number of key local strategic links that the HSP Strategy needs to make in order to be fully effective. The Strategy and Action Plan have been developed in partnership with the stakeholders responsible for these strategies and plans and the Action Plan reflects needs and priorities they have identified. Some of the key partnership approaches are described below.

Swansea Homeless Services Coordination Cell

At the start of the pandemic, as per Welsh Government Guidance, a multi-agency Homelessness Cell was established to help co-ordinate the homelessness sector's response to the challenges arising due to the pandemic. This group initially focused on largely operational issues and provided a highly effective forum to develop excellent joint working during the on-going pandemic. The Cell is now developing its strategic role and has been useful in identifying issues/priorities/actions for inclusion within the strategy, particularly in relation to rough sleeping, substance misuse and access to mental health services. The group will continue to meet going forward.

Partnership Working with Registered Social Landlords

The Local Authority has continued to develop strong relationships with the three major registered social landlord partners that operate in the area. This is reflected in the increase in the number of allocations made to homeless applicants to RSL properties since the start of the pandemic. There was particularly strong collaborative work carried out as part of Phase 1 and Phase 2, including a combination of acquisitions, new builds and an increase in the level of temporary supported housing stock.

The Move-On Strategy continues to ensure that all the key housing providers directly assist in moving people on from supported housing into permanent accommodation and we are keen to strengthen this approach as part of the systems thinking review of supported housing. In addition, the Nominations Agreement is closely monitored to ensure that all providers consistently meet their Nomination targets. There is a need to consider reviewing this agreement to ensure that the needs of homeless applicants continue to be met.

Early discussions have taken place with RSL partners to consider how we can streamline access to housing and the allocation of accommodation. There is a long-term goal of developing a common access point and ensuring allocations policies are more aligned with each other.

Joint Homelessness and Housing Support Grant Collaborative Forum

The forum aims to ensure that key stakeholders have a recognised forum which facilitates collaboration and coproduction with local commissioners. The Forum provides an opportunity for stakeholders to inform and influence the development of the homelessness strategy and service responses to meet the priorities. It also provides an opportunity for networking, to publicise positive achievements and share best practice.

VAWDASV Leadership Group

Swansea's VAWDASV Strategy is overseen by the VAWDASV Leadership Group. The Leadership Group has excellent engagement from a range of partners including Health, Education, PCC, Providers, Social Services, Police, Community Safety, Housing, Homelessness, and the Housing Support Grant Team.

HHAVGP (Health of Homelessness and Vulnerable Groups Plan) a local multiagency group which aims to ensure the implementation of Welsh Government's Health Standards for Homeless and Vulnerable Groups in order to improve health outcomes for rough sleepers and other vulnerable groups.

Housing Support Grant Commissioning Group

HSG expenditure is overseen by the Swansea Housing Support Grant Commissioning Group with representatives from Housing, Social Services, Commissioning, Probation, and Health. The Group meets at least quarterly to agree priorities, review progress on expenditure and make funding decisions concerning HSG. This includes commissioning new services, de-commissioning services, considering contract uplift requests and procurement planning and HSG programme management.

West Glamorgan Regional Approach

The West Glamorgan Regional Partnership Board (RPB)

The RPB provides leadership in decision making, guidance, influence and support to ensure the successful delivery of Housing, Health, and Care Services to people in West Glamorgan. The RPB is currently developing a Health, Housing and Social Care Strategy for the region.

The Housing Support Grant (HSG) was previously overseen by a Regional Collaborative Committee then renamed the Regional Housing Support Collaborative Group. To improve integration in work across the region the Regional Housing Support Collaborative Group and the Regional Health, Housing and Social Care Group were brought together to form the Regional Housing Partnership (RHP) and the Regional Housing Forum (RHF). The new governance includes two new groups:

  • The Regional Housing Partnership Group (RHP) which provides strategic direction for the housing work stream of the Regional Partnership.
  • The Regional Housing Forum (RHF) which reports to the RHP. The primary purpose is to inform the co-productive development of the regional strategy/action plans for housing, housing related support, health and social care transformation, by bringing together organisations, citizens and carers from across the region.

West Glamorgan Area Planning Board (APB) -responsible for planning, commissioning, and monitoring substance misuse services at a regional level.

Dual Diagnosis Group

As part of the APB commitment to improve services with individuals with a dual diagnosis a multi-agency steering group has been established to develop and implement a strategy to improve services for individuals with a dual diagnosis of mental illness and substance misuse.

6b Funding sources

The priorities set out in this strategy will be funded in the main from a series of grant allocations from the Welsh Government (WG).

  • Housing Support Grant (HSG)is an amalgamation by Welsh Government of three existing grants: Supporting People Programme Grant, Homelessness Prevention Grant, and Rent Smart Wales Enforcement. The Welsh Government Housing Support Grant allocation for Swansea Council for 2021 /2022 is £ 18,489,233 with a further 3-year indicative allocation for forward planning of:
    • 2022-23 - £18,489,233
    • 2023-24 - £18,489,233
    • 2024-25 - £18,489,233
  • Homeless Prevention Grant -From April 22 additional services will transition over a 2-year period into the main HSG programme.
  • Youth Innovation Fund
  • Children and Communities Grant
  • Local Authority Revenue Support Grant

6c Monitoring, reviewing and evaluation arrangements

The Housing Support Programme Strategy outlines how the Council and its partners plan to tackle homelessness between the years 2022 to 2026. Progress towards achieving the strategy's aims and objectives will be measured and monitored on a regular basis. In order to achieve this the following activities will be carried out:

  • The action plan will be reviewed on an annual basis and progress reported to the Cabinet Members
  • An annual update will be produced including action plan progress and an up-date of the key homelessness statistics.
  • An annual review day will be held with the Housing Support Grant and Homelessness Forum.
  • In addition to the annual review of progress, key performance measures will be used to monitor the on-going success and progress of the strategy in Swansea.

Further appropriate measures will be developed over time as the action plan is updated.

7. Housing Support Programme Strategy Action Plan

The Housing Support Programme Strategy Action Plan sets out the actions required to deliver the strategic priorities in Section 3, and is attached as an appendice.


Annex A - Housing Support Programme Strategy Action Plan 2022-2026

Housing Support Programme Strategy Action Plan 2022-2026

Initial Action Plan put in place in 2022/23
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