Majority of housing professionals predict 2014 rise in Welsh homelessness
Published by Max Salsbury for 24dash.com in Housing and also in Central Government, Communities
A majority of housing professionals expect the level of family homelessness to rise in the next 12 months, an independent survey has revealed.
Commissioned by the Chartered Institute of Housing Cymru, only 3% of those who took part in the survey believe homelessness will decrease in 2014, despite a recent drop in levels.
Statistics published by the Welsh government this week show that a decreasing number of households are being accepted by local authorities as homeless and that the number of households placed in temporary accommodation and in bed and breakfast accommodation has also fallen.
However, whilst the number of homeless acceptances has decreased during 2012-13, the official figures show that the number of applications has risen compared with the previous year.
CIH Cymru believes the survey's results show housing professionals are very concerned that a combination of austerity measures, reforms to the benefits system and rising living costs are putting more and more families at risk of losing their homes.
Julie Nicholas, CIH Cymru's policy & public affairs manager, said: “CIH Cymru is pleased that homelessness levels in Wales are falling, and we fully support the proposals to take a preventative approach to homelessness in the new Housing (Wales) Bill, as well as the cross-party commitment to the Supporting People programme in Wales.
"However, we are concerned that the impact of UK policies on welfare reform and cuts to public sector services, could begin to outpace these Welsh initiatives and we will begin to see more families at risk of homelessness."
Keith Edwards, CIH Cymru's director, added: “UK policies like the bedroom tax, the benefit cap and rental payments going direct to tenants rather than landlords will put increasing strain on those struggling to manage their finances and pay their rents. CIH Cymru is calling for the Welsh government to maintain its focus on preventing homelessness, and asks the UK government to urgently review the impact of bedroom tax and other welfare reforms on levels of homelessness."