Nia Griffith MP hosted an event for housing charity Shelter Cymru at the House of Commons last Monday. This was an opportunity for Shelter Cymru staff to speak about their work and to discuss with Welsh MPs their current work in their constituencies.
John Puzey, Shelter Cymru’s Director, spoke about how the challenges the organisation faces have changed over time. He described the progress that Shelter Cymru has made in trying to prevent homelessness but also emphasised that there was still a huge amount of work to do as growing numbers of people are coming to the charity for help. He also spoke about why Shelter Cymru believes that the current system of housing subsidy is flawed – and said that more money should be invested in building affordable homes rather than propping up high rents.
Speaking at the event, Nia thanked Shelter Cymru for all the work that they do to help constituents and she highlighted some of the current problems the organisation faces such as the effects of the bedroom tax, government plans to cap housing benefit payments and increasing pressure on discretionary housing payments. She also spoke about how social housing is becoming harder to access and the growth of the private rented sector.
Members from Shelter Cyrmu’s Take Notice Project attended the event. This project has worked with over 20 people who have experienced homelessness or housing need and it enables them to take part in improving the services provided by local authorities and other agencies.
Katey Jo Pilling from the Take Notice project spoke very movingly about her personal experience of homelessness and described working with Shelter Cymru as a service user and the hope that it had given her.
Shelter Cymru has been working to prevent homelessness in Wales for 35 years. In that time it has helped around half a million people fight for their rights and to find and keep a home. Last year the charity dealt with 26,000 cases and prevented homelessness in 93 % of cases where clients came to Shelter as they were facing homelessness.