Page last updated at 06:01 GMT, Thursday, 16 July 2009 07:01 UK

10-year homeless strategy starts

Housing (generic)
Homeless figures fell by 21% against last year's statistics

A strategy to help people avoid becoming homeless by providing earlier intervention is being unveiled.

The Welsh Assembly Government's 10-year homelessness plan will change the way housing services are delivered so they can respond faster to people in need.

The latest available figures showed 1,334 households were homeless, with 2,823 more in temporary accommodation.

Last month, Shelter Cymru warned a drop in reported homeless numbers could reverse swiftly during a recession.

The plan being launched by Deputy Housing Minister Jocelyn Davies will provide faster intervention to people at risk of becoming homeless to try to avert them losing their homes.

Homeless man
Prevent homelessness before it happens
Provide easy access to housing advice
Minimise mortgage repossessions
Help rough sleepers

For people who do find themselves homeless, there will be improved accommodation and other services available.

Naomi Beverstock, a mother-of-four from Cardiff who was at risk at becoming homeless, told how intervention from Cadwyn Housing Association had helped her family.

She said: "I lived with my mum, who is disabled, and four children in a two-bedroom flat - it was just too much for all of us.

"I contacted the council who told me what my options were and directed me to Cadwyn.

"Within 24 hours of contacting Cadwyn I was offered a property under the Calonlettings scheme.

"We are all so much happier now. We live in a lovely house where the children have room to play and I am close enough to my mum to still support her."

'Make the plan a reality'

Ms Davies said: "I want to ensure that everyone can access the help they need at the earliest possible opportunity.

"My aim is to provide support and advice quickly to help those people in need to stop them losing their home.

"But where people find themselves homeless I want to make sure they get the right help and advice at a traumatic and emotional time for them."

Shelter Cymru director John Puzey, who last month warned a drop in homeless figures could reverse swiftly as the recession deepened, gave the plan a qualified welcome.

"Plans cannot by themselves prevent homelessness or find people homes, but they are necessary to provide direction and leadership.

"The homelessness plan has the potential to provide a framework within which local authorities and third sector partners can take a new approach to challenging homelessness in Wales.

"Although Shelter Cymru will continue to call for additional resources, we recognise that in the meantime we must make the plan a reality through existing resources."

The assembly government has already introduced a mortgage rescue scheme to assist home owners facing repossessions.

By the end of June, the scheme had helped 61 families stay in their homes with £3.94m of funding.

A further 62 properties are being purchased, and the scheme will receive £9.5m during the current financial year.

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