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in Nacro housing newsletter

What’s going on in Wales?

Welcome to this edition of the Nacro housing newsletter which will focus on our work in Wales. Nacro has had a presence in Wales for nearly 20 years which means we understand the needs and challenges of the area well and the innovative solutions which are required. Both the conditions and the legislation in Wales are distinct and we deliver our services with this in mind.

See what our staff and service users think about Nacro housing services.

Facts and figures

Since April 2014 83% of our service users have successfully moved on into new accommodation.

Over the last 18 months we helped 406 of our service users find employment.

Every three months we gather feedback from service users. In October 2014:

  • They all reported they were happy with the quality of support they received and they felt safe in their homes
  • 83% said they received the right level of support
  • 92% said there was nothing they wanted to change about the support they received
  • 91% said they had been invited to a service user involvement group

Our resettlement and bond scheme reduces homelessness

We have run a resettlement and bond scheme in Conwy and Denbighshire for 12 years. The scheme has been successful in reducing homelessness in both areas through strong links with the respective local authorities and private landlords. Ensuring private sector accommodation is used effectively to reduce homelessness is one of the scheme’s key strengths.

We help those who are homeless or at risk of homelessness find suitable accommodation and in some cases we provide a bond to cover the rent deposit. In particular, we support people who are not eligible for local authority housing. Most other services would not be able to reach the people we help through the scheme.

During the first six months of 2014-15:

  • The resettlement service received 97 referrals. The scheme found suitable accommodation for 54% of these. 33% were aged 16-25 and 67% were aged 26 or over.
  • The bond service received 119 referrals. Of the bonds provided, 64% were provided to individuals, 25% to families and 11% to couples.

Claire’s story

Our resettlement and bond scheme helped Claire secure permanent accommodation and provided ongoing support. The bond covered her rent deposit and Nacro staff supported her with applying for a DWP Crisis Loan which covered her rent in advance. The property Claire initially moved into was due to be purchased by the local authority as a result of planned regeneration in the area. We liaised with them to find out what was happening and to make sure Claire knew what to expect. Claire is now settled in a replacement property and is in work.

Our strong links help the hardest to house

Peter was sleeping rough when he was referred to Nacro’s resettlement service through an outreach worker. A fire in the block of flats where he had been living had left Peter and his two dogs homeless. Those with pets are often difficult to rehouse but in this case it was clear that Peter’s dogs were integral to his mental well-being and there were no welfare or behavioural issues in relation to the dogs. Due to our strong and long-standing relationship with a landlord whose property had suitable outside space, they agreed that Peter could move in. In addition, as a result of our negotiations, the local authority agreed to pay Peter’s rent deposit and rent in advance. Peter continues to receive support from us and he is now settled in his new home.

Housing (Wales) Act 2014

The Housing (Wales) Act 2014 has fundamental implications for the prevention of homelessness and the private rented sector in Wales. Working in partnership will be increasingly important for housing providers.

Julie Nicholas, Policy and Public Affairs Manager at the Chartered Institute of Housing (CIH) Cymru, said:

“Nacro will need to work closely with private landlords and homelessness teams to ensure prison leavers and other vulnerable groups have suitable accommodation options. Specialist providers like Nacro will be key to the success of implementing Welsh housing policy in the 21st century. We are delighted that Nacro will be showcasing their housing offer at our conferences next year, including at TAI 2015 in Cardiff in April.”

Changes to housing floating support in Carmarthenshire

Carmarthenshire County Council’s Supporting People Team is reviewing the way it commissions its housing support services, and as part of this Nacro is providing a pilot floating support service. Carmarthenshire is a large, rural area with a dispersed population and the local authority is considering having more general (rather than specialised) services which are more evenly located across the county.

The benefits of the new model include:

  • Better value for money for commissioners
  • Easier and quicker referrals
  • Increased opportunities for staff and service users to link up with local agencies
  • More flexible allocation of resources
  • Reduced travelling costs and time for staff and service users

The Supporting People Team is already considering how the model can be rolled out across Carmarthenshire.

Erica Barrett, Procurement and Contracting Officer, Carmarthenshire County Council, said:

“We are delighted that Nacro has agreed to work with us on this journey of discovery.”

Joint commissioning in Gwynedd and Ynys Mon

Nacro has met with the Gwynedd and Ynys Mon Supporting People managers to discuss joint commissioning across two local authority areas where we deliver supported housing services. We are awaiting the details of the joint commissioning proposal but the potential benefits include a reduction in costs for commissioners and more opportunities for efficient sharing of resources.

Contact us

If you would like to find out more about our work in Wales please contact:

Joanne Drew, Director of Housing, on 020 7902 5423 or joanne.drew@nacro.org.uk

Anne Newhall, Area Manager for Wales, on 01248 679 060 or anne.newhall@nacro.org.uk

Find out who to contact about our housing work in England.