Lesley Griffiths AM, Minister for Communities and Tackling Poverty
Today, I am publishing the National Pathway for Homelessness Services to Children, Young People and Adults in the Secure Estate. The Pathway, which has been developed in conjunction with key agencies and organisations, is a significant new development in the Welsh Government’s efforts to prevent homelessness amongst ex offenders.
Preventing homelessness is a priority for this Government. Following the introduction of groundbreaking new legislation based on preventing homelessness, we have worked with key stakeholders to improve the support available. We have paid particular attention to the needs of individuals before they leave custody, with the aim of preventing them from becoming homeless and enhancing their resettlement, all of which will help reduce the risk of reoffending and, in turn, have a positive impact on our communities.
The Pathway clarifies how and when people identified as being homeless, or threatened with homelessness at a number of different stages during their detention in custody receive help. It clarifies the roles and responsibilities for the agencies and organisations involved and as a result will achieve a more coordinated approach, avoid duplication of effort and, most importantly, lead to more help for more people.
The Pathway has already been used by some organisations for some months, with the positive feedback,, with partners working collaboratively, relationships being forged and, of course, positive impacts on those leaving custody. It has also enabled us to refine the Pathway prior to its publication today. I am particularly pleased to see the early feedback suggests the Pathway has helped to reduce the instances of young people being placed in bed and breakfast on release from custody.
Wales has been praised for its new homelessness legislation and I believe the Pathway also puts us ahead of the rest of the UK in terms of what we are doing for this group of vulnerable people. The success of the Pathway depends on effective collaboration and I look to all organisations to play their part in full. However, I have been impressed by the considerable commitment shown by all organisations, covering devolved and non-devolved functions, to its development via our Prisoner Accommodation Resettlement Working Group. Their input has been fundamental to its design and development and I look forward to this continuing. I will be writing to all our partner organisations to ask them to confirm their ongoing commitment to its use.
There is no doubt accommodation is a key factor in helping to break the cycle of offending. Our Pathway is an importantly opportunity to engage partners in even better joint working, which will make a real difference. I would like to put on record my thanks to everyone involved in its development and I look forward to seeing the benefits it will bring.
This statement is being issued during recess in order to keep members informed. Should members wish me to make a further statement or to answer questions on this when the Assembly returns I would be happy to do so.