A vision for future homelessness services in Cardiff that sets out a new pathway for accommodation and support services in the city has been unveiled.
The Council's new model is very much in line with Welsh Government direction on homeless services and seeks to build on the significant progress already made supporting people off the streets. The proposals aim to improve services to better meet clients' needs and build on the swift response to the Coronavirus pandemic in a ‘No Going Back' approach to supporting vulnerable individuals.
Key components of the new vision include a new 24-hour assessment centre, bringing homeless and health services together on site, and more specialist accommodation, to ensure individuals have good quality, supported provision to help get their lives back on track.
A new approach to delivering services for homeless families who are homeless is also set out in a report to be considered by Cabinet on Thursday, July 16.
Cabinet will hear about the progress made by services during the COVID-19 crisis, the rapid measures put in place to safely accommodate vulnerable clients and the steps already taken to secure additional permanent accommodation as part of the Council's longer term plans for tackling homelessness.
A new assessment centre, where a client's needs will be properly understood and an appropriate solution developed, with on-site emergency accommodation is a focal point of the new vision. The centre will become a co-ordination point for the city's multi-disciplinary complex needs services including street and hostel outreach and will provide referrals for clients to be rehoused into good quality, self-contained accommodation in a supported setting, depending on the level of their needs.
Plans for better accommodation are outlined in the report. Plans are set out to refocus an existing facility in Adamsdown, which currently provides temporary accommodation for homeless families, to develop an integrated facility of around 103 self-contained units with intensive support, such as on-site health and therapeutic services. Additional flats will be available as part of the scheme for longer term more settled accommodation.
This is in addition to extra accommodation already sourced in the city in Llanrumney, and a 42-unit student housing block on Newport Road to meet increased demand.
Rapid rehousing and Housing First are also an important part of the vision for future homelessness services in Cardiff, ensuring that homeless people can move into permanent accommodation as soon as possible.
Cabinet Member for Housing and Communities, Cllr Lynda Thorne, said: "Having the right accommodation with the right support is crucial to being able to help people to turn their lives around.
"The progress we have made during the pandemic has proved that and we are incredibly grateful to Welsh Government, and in particular Minister for Housing and Local Government, Julie James, for her personal commitment to addressing homelessness in Wales and for the extra funding, significantly above that provided to local authorities in England, to support our endeavours.
"With self-contained accommodation, on-site support services and many clients remaining inside, we've had an unprecedented opportunity to work with those who wanted to take a step away from a street based lifestyle, with many engaging with substance misuse services for the first time.
"We knew from our strategic review that was underway before the crisis that this was the way forward and how we wanted to develop our future provision. In practice, this approach has enabled us to engage with more people, many with very complex needs, than ever before.
"We've come a long way and this new vision will take us further forward again to ensure we're doing everything we can to give vulnerable people the best chance of moving away and staying off the streets for good."
The future vision also includes a reshaping of services for families and focuses on creating three centres for family homelessness at Briardean on North Road, Harrison Avenue, St Mellons and The Gasworks, Grangetown.
All three centres will offer good quality, family accommodation with staff on site during the day and other provision such as Early Help family services, health visiting and parenting support.
Next week's report seeks Cabinet approval for the direct award of a contract to deliver the temporary accommodation units, via a modular building solution, at the Gasworks site.
The Council has also agreed to become a pilot for a Welsh Government scheme to lease directly from the private rented sector, which delivers 66 properties for homeless families with a five-year lease providing more stability over the medium term.