All Roads Lead to Adequate Housing

motorway road sign with Adequate Housing written on it


As January and the White Paper consultation on Ending Homelessness draws to a close, we hear from Back the Bill coalition leaders on why, if we want to get serious about the housing emergency, all roads lead to the right to adequate housing. 

Will 2024 finally be the year Wales starts to get its houses in order? Proposals to end homelessness are ambitious and contain progressive proposals on reforms like ending priority need, changes to local connection and requirements for accessible housing. Yet, as we look ahead to the publication of the final budget in February, unless there are any last-minute changes, housing again is missing out. And let’s be honest, without additional funding in response to current inflationary pressures it’s going to be challenging to deliver the status quo, let alone expand services to deliver the changes we all want to see in order to end homelessness.  

Housing in Wales is facing challenges not seen for 100 years. Record numbers of people in Temporary Accommodation, high social waiting lists, a continued cost-of-living crisis alongside the longer-term challenges of an ageing population, lack of suitable stock and the need to decarbonise our homes mean this is very much a perfect storm. And while there is appetite to resolve these challenges, we ask where is the vision, the cross-party long-term commitment and funding to give everyone in Wales the home they deserve? 

Colleagues from Cymorth Cymru and Community Housing Cymru ran a passionate Housing Matters campaign this year, highlighting that without budget increases to the Housing Support Grant, many will consider whether the services they deliver continue to be viable. Despite this powerful campaign, HSG was frozen.  

We appear to be at an impasse and clearly, we need a re-think. If we are to deliver the homes and ambitious plans everyone seems to have – something needs to change. We can’t go around it, under or over it – we need to go through it. Going through it means accepting that housing needs proper investment, we know it costs the NHS at least £95 million a year and the economy £1bn a year. Underfunding is not only an ineffective argument but it’s costing money.  We need cross-party commitment and a long-term vision that stretches beyond one Senedd term to give all stakeholders time to work together and deliver the necessary changes. Lastly, we need mechanisms to hold our politicians to account to ensure that adequate funding is made available. For too long, warm words have not been translated into the firm commitments the issue dictates. These can all be delivered through incorporation of a right to adequate housing in Wales. 

The summer of 2024 will see a White Paper consultation on this. We believe this is the once in a generation chance for housing to come together if we want to get better funding, joined up thinking and cross-party commitment over the long term. That’s why we feel if we want long-term change and to give everyone the home they deserve in Wales, all roads in Wales lead to the right to adequate housing.