P-05-790 Tackle Rough Sleeping – Correspondence from the Petitioner to the Committee, 28.11.17

To whom it may concern,

I raised my petition with the Welsh National Assembly because I am confident that you care about ending rough sleeping. Despite this commitment rough sleeper figures for Wales are on the rise. On a daily basis I see people sleeping in the street. The Wallich’s outreach teams have recorded consistent rises in the number of rough sleepers in all the areas they cover and Shelter Cymru has seen 63 per cent of rough sleepers using their service.

So despite our new homelessness legislation, and despite the Welsh Government’s long-term aimto end the need to sleep rough more people sleeping in the street.

What we need:

§ A better monitoring data

§ Interact directly with rough sleepers to find out why they are sleeping rough and how we can help them. They will help us understand how the system has failed them and why they have been unable to break the vicious circle of homeless despite the existence of so many charities that seek to help the homeless.

§ We need to fix the problem by having a ‘no rough sleeping policy’. This means no one should be sleeping rough. Long term accommodation needs to be offered to rough sleepers and a proper plan needs to be executed that will make sure that they receive the necessary support that will allow them to get the help they need.

§ Legal reforms and preventive measures that focus on helping people not become homeless has not helped people who are already homeless and sleeping rough in our streets.

§ Factors that need to be addressed: Austerity and benefits cuts, lack of affordable housing.

§ We need more Housing Firstaccommodation in Wales to help homeless people with long-term mental health and substance misuse problems.

§ Emergency accommodation: conditions need to be improved as some people are too scared to use these accommodations.

§ Some rough sleepers are not offered emergency accommodation because their council says they are not vulnerable enough. Welsh Government guidance recognize that people sleeping rough ‘are likely to be vulnerable due to the health and social implications of their situation’. This needs to be clearly communicated to councils so people do not end up sleeping in the street.

§ We also need more services that understand rough sleepers’ needs and can help them with employment and skills; money and benefits advice; and help to access and sustain tenancies.

Hanin Abou Salem