The Independent Review of Affordable Housing Supply has today published its findings. The report lays out a number of recommendations key to addressing the housing crisis in Wales, which has seen thousands of young people struggling to access and maintain affordable housing. Recommendations in the report include offering longer term certainty to developers in order to increase supply, the introduction of long-term rent policy and ensuring that young people’s needs are considered when local authorities are scoping out what housing is needed in their areas.

As the report was being developed young people supported by Llamau presented to the panel what they saw as the key challenges facing young people today. Young people told the panel that:

  • They want to see a recognition from housing providers that housing affordability for young people is an area of real concern. Rents need to be flexible and proportionate to income.
  • The financial support available to care-experienced young people should be extended to homelessness-experienced young people too, with appropriate increases to the level of funding provided.
  • Affordable housing providers should build with young people in mind. That means offering appropriately sized accommodation that young people can afford, i.e. one bedroom homes, or purpose-built, small-scale shared accommodation.
  • Welsh Government must ensure that all options to mitigate UK government welfare reforms, which are penalising young people and limiting their ability to access and sustain affordable housing, have been explored and exhausted.
  • Young people should be consulted on what kind of support they need to manage their own tenancies and budget appropriately.

Frances Beecher, Chief Executive of Llamau, said of the report:

End Youth Homelessness Cymru firmly believes that those who have lived experience of homelessness need to be involved in making the policy which will prevent others from going through the same trauma. We are grateful to the Affordable Housing Supply review’s chair, Lynn Pamment, and the rest of the panel for the manner in which they have listened directly to the views of young people with experience of homelessness and, where the scope of the review allowed, responded constructively. We are particularly pleased that they have responded directly to the call for young people’s needs to be specifically considered in local housing market assessments.

Fundamentally, however, the scope of the review was not wide enough to begin with; any review of affordable housing which fails to include consideration of homelessness prevention is too narrow.

Youth homelessness is everybody’s business. End Youth Homelessness Cymru will continue to work with our partners to ensure that collective responsibility for tackling this crisis is taken by all those with the power to affect change. Young people have told us what needs to change and we will work tirelessly to ensure that their demands are met.