Carl Sargeant, Cabinet Secretary for Communities and Children
In November last year, I published the National Housing Pathway for Ex-Service Personnel, which was developed with the help of key organisations from the housing and Armed Forces sectors. The pathway is another good example of our partnership working to prevent homelessness amongst ex Service personnel.
I take very seriously the responsibility we have to those members of our communities who have served, or are still serving, in the Armed Forces. Helping them to find suitable accommodation is an important part of the much broader and wider package of support which helps them to settle back into our communities. I am committed to doing all I can to help and where more can be done, as illustrated by the development of the Pathway, I will do whatever is necessary
Preventing homelessness is a priority for this Government. I read with some concern the results of the annual rough sleeping count which were published yesterday. The count identified an increase in the numbers of people found to be sleeping rough. While many of the factors behind this are outside our control, we must do as much as we can with other organisations to ensure that people at risk of homelessness are aware of, and take up, the services which are available to help. My recent announcement of £7.8 million of funding for homelessness prevention in 2017-18 will support work which helps to do this. .
Wales has been rightly praised for our new homelessness legislation and it is good to see the UK Government following our lead on preventing homelessness. This Pathway, alongside the National Prisoner Pathway, puts us ahead of the rest of the UK in terms of multi-agency cooperation to prevent people, including many vulnerable people, from becoming homeless.
We will continue our work to implement the Housing Pathway, particularly amongst organisations working on the front line of homelessness. We also aim to do more to raise awareness, with the publication of advice for veterans. This will build on the contents of the Pathway. It will be targeted at those due to be discharged from duty as well as those who were discharged at some point previously. It will include advice cards for those who are sleeping rough. The Pathway will also be disseminated widely amongst organisations providing support for the Armed Forces community in Wales.
I am grateful to all the organisations who have worked with us on these developments. In collaboration with The Armed Forces Expert Group and partner organisations, we will continue to support and provide effective services for our Armed Forces community in Wales. Our refreshed “Package of Support and Welcome to Wales” documents provide advice and signposting to enable both Serving and ex Service personnel and their families access services and support from wherever they live in Wales.
The success of the Pathway depends on effective collaboration and I am confident all organisations involved in supporting the Armed Forces community will continue to play their part to the full.
The Pathway can be accessed via the following links: