At the start of Wales Action Week, Paul Davies (Chief Executive, Trivallis) considers the role business can play in preventing homelessness in Wales.
Trivallis provides homes and services to thousands of families in Rhondda Cynon Taff. As we work in partnership with Rhondda Cynon Taf Council to provide homes for the most vulnerable people in society we see every day how much of a challenge it can be for people to maintain their home and their tenancy. Many people who need a home with us are already homeless or at risk of becoming homeless.
Homelessness can happen to any one
Homelessness can happen to any one of us and as a housing organisation, with a real insight and experience in working with some of the most vulnerable people in society, we understand the devastating effect that it can have on families – and also the key role organisations can play in preventing it.
Without doubt it is in all our interests to ensure that people get the homes they need, and the support they require to have every opportunity they can to gain a stable and comfortable life.
As a social landlord, responsible business is at the heart of what we do. By working with our partners and tenants we are working to ensure that our communities are sustainable and thriving; resulting in benefits for current and future generations. Working to prevent homelessness and shore-up the resilience of our tenants also delivers benefits for us as a housing association. It also leads to more opportunities for communities and businesses to build on strong foundations and develop skilled, resilient workforces.
“ Homelessness has devastating effects on individuals, families and the community. Without a stable, safe and secure home people are denied many of the basic opportunities and comforts that many of us take for granted. Homelessness affects thousands of people every year and touches all parts of Wales. Over 6,000 families were assessed as homeless in Wales in 2016 and together we must work to ensure we can reduce this number year on year. ”
Taking action to prevent homelessness
Prevention is key to tackling homeless and ensuring no families have to enter into this desperate cycle is something we keep at the forefront of our minds. The Welsh Government is leading the way with its innovation in addressing the issue and we want to support that in the work we do with communities.
We’re committed to ending the housing crisis by ensuring that we are building the right homes in the right places. But for us tackling homelessness for us starts with working with people before they even become a tenant, to prepare them as far as possible for managing and sustaining a home. Our STEPS service provides pre-tenancy training to people who are homeless and waiting to be rehoused. The training equips them with the essentials to ensure they feel confident managing a home and tenancy, and don’t become at risk of losing their home. Latest figures show those who received this training and went on to hold a tenancy with Trivallis were much more likely to still be in their home after 12 months than tenants who hadn’t received this support.
These, and other, support services continue when people become tenants through on-going work from our STEPS service, targeted financial and debt advice from our Financial Inclusion Team, and our partnership working with Rhondda Cynon Taf Council through the SAFE service, providing support to older people to enable them to remain independent in the homes.
I am proud that Trivallis can be part of the efforts to tackle this issue though I know we can and will always look for ways to do more – with our tenants, partners and other responsible companies in Wales.
In today’s climate, with welfare reform, fuel poverty and a lack of decent employment opportunities in many areas of the South Wales Valleys, we urge other businesses to play a role in tackling both the root cause and effects of homelessness.
We can all be part of the solution.
Wales Action Week is sponsored by Trivallis, Wales & West Utilities and 1st solutions employment & training services.