Some 500 children left homeless due to social housing evictions
Last year, roughly 500 children were made homeless in Wales after social landlords evicted around 914 households, according to Shelter Cymru.
Released on World Homeless Day, the report revealed that dealing with the consequences of these evictions cost the Welsh economy £24.3 million, including over £7.5 million to landlords.
Titled ‘Accessing and Sustaining Social Tenancies: Exploring Barriers to Homelessness Prevention’, the report highlights the financial and human impact of evictions from Welsh social housing.
It underlines the extent of evicted tenants finding themselves without the support to go into stable housing, and therefore facing long-term homelessness or experiencing the deterioration of support needs.
According to the report, more than three quarters of those interviewed were still homeless, six months after their social housing eviction.
It is believed that the threat of eviction and rent arrears happened for two main reasons: structural barriers such as changes to welfare reform, unstable or no employment, and housing benefit challenges like support needs not being met.
“We found many examples of good practice and some outstanding practice in inclusive lettings and in the prevention of eviction,” reads the study.
“However, we also found instances where people had been excluded from social housing when it was inappropriate and unfair to do so. Our evidence suggests that more can be done to ensure that Welsh social housing is continuing to meet the needs of people on very low incomes.”
It was revealed that social landlords often vary in their approach and methods in preventing evictions and, while more needs to be done, the report recognised that there is still excellent work currently being undertaken in Wales.
Jennie Bibbings, Shelter Cymru’s campaign manager, commented: “When it comes to something as vital as losing a home, a patchy approach just isn’t good enough. We sincerely hope that this report resonates with social landlords and their belief in the social ethos of the service that they provide.”