Few Welsh councils seek housing aid

Only seven of Wales’s 22 councils applied last year for funding to develop housing support schemes for people with substance misuse problems, figures have revealed.

Councils also spent only half of the 4m available for the substance misuse schemes through the social housing grant, according to a report from the Welsh assembly’s social justice and regeneration committee.

This has prompted the assembly government to suspend the approval of any further projects pending the results of a review.

The committee said progress had been slow, partly because housing associations had struggled to find suitable properties and gain planning consent. Similar concerns were raised earlier this year (news, page 9, 9 March).

Stephen Gamgee, chief executive of homelessness charity Wallich Clifford Community, blamed the “regrettably” low take-up on councils’ lack of understanding of homelessness and substance misuse.

“In at least two of the local authorities we work in, this lack of understanding has led to us withdrawing applications for funding,” he said.

“The increasingly bureaucratic nature of the funding process may lead, in turn, to projects becoming less effective than they could be.”

  • Figures from www.wales.gov.uk/keypubassemsocjustregen/index.htm

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