Housing – Welsh Government assessment
The Welsh Government has taken action to prevent and reduce homelessness, protect tenants’ rights, improve housing conditions and increase the supply of affordable homes. While the Welsh Government took measures to protect rough sleepers during the pandemic, many were still sleeping rough at the end of 2020, and homelessness has increased in recent years. Many people still live in overcrowded, poor quality housing and the chronic shortage of accessible homes continues to have an adverse impact on the lives of disabled people. Gypsy, Roma and Traveller communities continue to face particular housing challenges.
- At March 2020, 2,324 households were placed in temporary accommodation, the highest on record and 24% higher than in 2016.
- The number of households threatened with homelessness decreased in 2019–20, by 7% from the previous year, to 9,993. However, this represents an overall increase of 8.5% since 2016.
- The number of households assessed as homeless has increased every year since 2015–16, reaching 12,399 in 2019–20. Of these, 41% were helped to secure accommodation.
- Between 2016 and 2019, the estimated number of people sleeping rough in Wales increased by 25%.
- Despite steps to provide emergency housing for rough sleepers during the pandemic, many were still sleeping rough in October 2020.
- A 2017 report by the Welsh Government indicated that house-building is not increasing at the rate required to meet the rising number of households in Wales.
- The proportion of social housing that is non-compliant with the Welsh Housing Quality Standard has fallen from 21% in 2015–16 to 7% in 2018–19.
- The Help to Buy Wales scheme was introduced to make buying a home more affordable. By September 2019 the Welsh Government had exceeded its target of 6,000 completions by 500.
- The number of Gypsy and Traveller caravans reported in Wales increased by 17% between January 2016 and January 2020, and the proportion on authorised sites increased by 5%. Implementation of the Welsh Government’s Enabling Gypsies, Roma and Travellers plan has so far not delivered a sufficient increase in pitches to meet demand.
- Despite welcome policy reforms, disabled people continue to report a severe shortage of accessible homes across all accommodation options and are not getting the support they need to live independently. A Welsh Government survey in 2020 found that 18% of tenants reported living in homes that were unsuitable for their specific requirements (for example, specific disabilities).
- Ethnic minority groups are less likely to own their homes than White people. While 70% of White people own their homes, just 23% of Black people do so. Black people are more likely to rent socially, while other ethnic groups are more likely to rent privately.
- While the Welsh Government has not committed to incorporate the right to adequate housing from the International Covenant on Economic, Social and Cultural Rights into domestic primary legislation, its commitment to include the right in statutory guidance accompanying the Local Government and Elections (Wales) Act 2021 has been welcomed.
Read more about the UK and Welsh Governments’ actions on housing.