Julie James AM, Minister for Housing and Local Government
Today I am launching the consultation on the draft Practice Guidance for the Housing Support Grant (HSG), which sets out the governance framework for local authorities to operate and administer the grant.
The HSG is an important early intervention grant programme which prevents people from becoming homeless, stabilises their housing situation, or helps potentially homeless people to find and keep accommodation. It supports vulnerable people to address the, sometimes multiple, problems they face, such as debt, employment, tenancy management, substance misuse, violence against women, domestic abuse and sexual violence, and mental health issues. It helps some of Wales’ most vulnerable people to live independently in their own home or supported housing.
The HSG came into being in April 2019 following the Welsh Government’s funding flexibilities project aimed at bringing together a number of grants, strengthen the ability of local authorities and their partners to deliver preventative services and to allow local authorities greater flexibility.
A Ministerial decision was made in October 2018 to form two grants from the Early Intervention, Prevention and Support Grant (EIPS) work, separating the housing-related grants from non-housing elements for all local authorities. Consequently, from April 2019, the Welsh Government established a Children and Communities Grant (encompassing Flying Start, Families First, the Legacy Fund, Promoting Positive Engagement for Young People, St David’s Day Fund, Communities for Work Plus and Childcare and Play), and a single Housing Support Grant (encompassing Supporting People, Homelessness Prevention and Rent Smart Wales Enforcement).
In line with expectations of the Well-being and Future Generations (Wales) Act 2015 a co- productive approach has been undertaken to develop the appropriate administrative, governance, planning and monitoring arrangements for the HSG. Extensive engagement has been undertaken with key stakeholders to consider proposals which has fed into the guidance document being consulted upon today.
The consultation runs until 29 November 2019 and I look forward to considering feedback from stakeholders and interested parties.