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Action on homelessness

As part of WHQ’s What I’d Change about Housing and the Law feature, Paul Roberts calls for action on homelessness. 

Homelessness is the most obvious measure of a failing housing market and I support the Crisis campaign to end homelessness. I am encouraged by the interest and commitment of the Welsh Government to ending youth homelessness and piloting initiatives like Housing First but to provide a real step change an overhaul of legislation is needed.

I would like legislative change that removes barriers to support. Abolishing the concepts of priority need and local connection and repealing the Vagrancy Act would make a real difference and would open the doors to the support that is needed. Homelessness goes beyond the most visible form of rough sleeping and I would like to see the statutory duty to provide support and preventative intervention strengthened, in this way initiatives like Housing First can be properly funded.

Effective regulatory oversight is also necessary and this brings up the issue of domain regulation; only by working to the same standards and aims with proper scrutiny can we start to unlock the real benefits of partnership working. It’s a contentious one but I think the time has come to tackle it head on. And more affordable homes would help of course.

Paul Roberts, chief executive, Newydd Housing Association

If you would like to contribute to Part 2 of this feature, tell WHQ what you would change about the law in relation to housing and why by emailing the editor, Jules Birch, at [email protected]

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