Liz Davies KC, Joint Head of Garden Court Chambers, was the legal adviser to this important report, part of the Welsh Government's work on ending homelessness in Wales.
Leading voices from the homeless and housing sectors have today published a report: 'Ending Homelessness in Wales: A Legislative Review', calling for the Welsh Government to bring forward radical changes to the law to help end homelessness in Wales.
As part of the Welsh Government’s action plan to end homelessness, Minister Julie James called for an Expert Review Panel to be set up in March 2022 to consider how legislative change could help to end homelessness in Wales. Our Liz Davies KC was a member of the panel as the legal adviser.
The panel’s work was informed by the views of more than 300 people with lived experience of homelessness and wide engagement with professionals across the sector and beyond.
The panel report covers 171 recommendations spanning a range of issues. These include:
- Calling for a stronger focus on preventing homelessness by:
- Enabling people to access to homelessness support services when they are threatened with homelessness within 6 months as opposed to the current 56 days.
- Introducing a new duty to offer support to help people retain accommodation.
- Making homelessness support more inclusive, person-centred and trauma-informed by:
- Calling for current laws which have been presenting barriers to people accessing support to be abolished or adapted. For example, abolishing current rules that limit support given to single people.
- Introducing new laws that enable systems to be more accessible as well as more sensitive and flexible around an individual’s circumstances. For example, by introducing greater flexibility when considering whether a person has a local connection to the area where they are seeking support.
- Looking at wider collaborative working to end homelessness by:
- Introducing new duties for public sector organisations and housing associations to help identify, act, refer and co-operate where a person is experiencing or at risk of homelessness.
- Addressing current barriers in the system for groups that are at particular risk of homelessness.
- Considering the role of social housing in allocating to homeless households who have a pressing need for housing, while acknowledging that there are also other groups in housing need.
Find out more and read the report here.