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Research shows housing support saves money and improves lives

Housing support services deliver gross annual savings of £300 million to public services in Wales, according to new research published by Cymorth Cymru.

The savings come from preventing homelessness, easing pressure on health and social care, and reducing interaction with the criminal justice system, according to the work led by Cardiff Metropolitan University, with expert economic modelling conducted by Alma Economics.

That equates to a net saving of £1.40 for every £1 invested by the Welsh Government in the Housing Support Grant. This vital funding stream supports over 57,000 people every year, including people experiencing or at risk of homelessness, care experienced young people, older people, people fleeing violence and abuse, people with learning disabilities, and people with mental health and substance misuse problems.

The £300 million gross annual savings to public services in Wales include £138 million savings to health services, £121 million  to social care, and £48 million to the criminal justice system.

Housing Support Grant expenditure was £123.7 million in 2019/20, meaning that it delivered net savings of £176.7 million.

Co-funded by Cymorth Cymru and the Oak Foundation, the research also evidences the social impact of services on people’s lives. Following over 100 interviews with people using housing support services in Wales, the results show:

  • 80 per cent of respondents reported a sustained positive impact in relation to feeling in control of their lives
  • 79 per cent reported a sustained positive impact in relation to their life satisfaction
  • 70 per cent reported a sustained positive impact regarding their optimism for the future
  • 67 per cent reported a sustained positive impact on their health.

Cymorth Cymru Director Katie Dalton said: ‘We’ve always known that housing-related support delivers huge benefits to public services and thousands of people across Wales every year, and we’re really pleased to have robust, independent research from Cardiff Metropolitan University to back this up.

‘Support services are critical to preventing homelessness, improving wellbeing and enabling people to thrive in their communities. With thousands of people brought into emergency accommodation during the pandemic, it has never been more important to invest in the Housing Support Grant.

‘This research reinforces our calls on the Welsh Government to increase Housing Support Grant funding in their 2021/22 budget. And as we approach the Welsh elections next year we are urging all political parties to commit to increasing and ring-fencing this vital fund throughout the next Senedd term.’

Marc Fury, lead researcher, Cardiff Metropolitan University, said:It is more important than ever to demonstrate the value of the Housing Support Grant) in Wales.

‘This research not only provides an analysis of the financial impact of HSG and the potential savings on health, social care and criminal justice, it also demonstrates the social impact on people’s lives and their life experiences.’

The research is being launched at a Cymorth Cymru webinar on Thursday.

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