A new report from the Wales Centre for Public Policy has concluded that prevention is better than cure for youth homelessness. 

When we launched our campaign to end youth homelessness in Wales within the next 10 years, the First Minister Carwyn Jones commissioned research to analyse what Welsh Government could do to tackle the issue. The report, published on 25th October 2018, has found that early interventions which stop young people from becoming homeless before it happens are key to eradicating youth homelessness. 

As the national coalition to end youth homelessness in Wales we’re very pleased with the paper produced by the Wales Centre for Public Policy. The recommendations within it and the evidence of promising practice from elsewhere offer us a roadmap for ending youth homelessness here, and we urge Welsh Government to work with great haste to deliver on the strategy it sets out, providing Welsh versions of the preventative models it outlines. There are no excuses now not to deliver for our young people!

The report’s principle recommendation - the development and implementation of a national strategy to prevent and end youth homelessness - is one we are pleased to offer End Youth Homelessness Cymru’s expertise to deliver in partnership with government. Our broad coalition is committed to ending youth homelessness and we are ready to support government to meet any and all of these recommendations.

The report was commissioned following announcements made by First Minister, Carwyn Jones, at the launch of End Youth Homelessness Cymru last year and we are indebted to him for demonstrating brave leadership on an issue which fundamentally must be addressed to prevent future generations of young people experiencing the trauma of having no safe place to call home.

Announcing the commissioning of the report, along with funding to enable us to meet its recommendations, at Llamau’s Head Office in December 2017, the First Minister stated:

“In order to deal with youth homelessness we can’t just compartmentalise it and say that’s the job of one minister. It’s a whole-Government responsibility.”

The report echoes this statement, calling for “an integrated ‘one government’ approach, which offers young people real voice and choice in addressing their own housing needs, and which is then able to provide individually-tailored support.” We know that this is the only way to respond to youth homelessness effectively and will continue to work with the First Minister and his successor to ensure that this policy of pan-governmental action on youth homelessness is maintained.

We would also like to express our gratitude to the Minister for Housing and Regeneration for her support for End Youth Homelessness Cymru and her commitment to tackling the issue of youth homelessness via a Ministerial Task and Finish group which features representatives from across government. End Youth Homelessness Cymru is represented on this group and we will work to ensure that it is an effective mechanism to deliver on the recommendations noted in the report. 

End Youth Homelessness Cymru will continue to deliver on its objectives of making youth homelessness everybody’s business and championing the systemic changes needed to meet our aim. Alongside this work, we acknowledge that many of the solutions to preventing youth homelessness are laid out in this fine report and we will endeavour to ensure that its recommendations are met, enabling us to end youth homelessness in Wales within the ten-year time-frame set out by the First Minister.