Tenancy plans trigger homelessness fears

    Proposals to change tenancy agreements used by supported housing
    projects could cause more homelessness and deny support to clients
    in most need, a charity has warned.

    Carl Chapple, development officer at Homeless Link Cymru, told
    delegates that draft proposals to reform operating licences could
    result in more hostels having to adopt shorthold tenancies that
    give tenants more rights, such as the ability to stop staff
    entering their room.

    It would also prevent residents from being temporarily excluded if
    a problem arose, such as occurs in extreme instances of abusive,
    threatening or violent behaviour.

    Under the plans, put forward by the Law Commission as part of its
    review of the UK system, a magistrate’s injunction would instead be
    required to evict someone.

    “The removal of hostels’ authority to pursue less formal methods of
    risk management would likely undermine future work and promote
    mistrust of the service among clients affected,” Chapple
    said.

    He added that the likely result of this would be that hostels would
    become more selective in who they took in. “This would be
    considered a means of reducing potential risk, though it might
    result in some of the most vulnerable clients experiencing greater
    difficulty in accessing residential services.”

    Hostels could be exempt from the changes if clients were to access
    places directly by walking in off the street. But Chapple said this
    would prevent hostels from carrying out initial assessments of
    clients’ needs and allocating places to the most vulnerable.

    “Either of these options would have significant and worrying
    implications for homelessness in Wales and may ultimately generate
    additional homelessness,” he added.

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