Welsh Liberal Democrats will use their debate time in the Assembly this week to call for the protection of funding for the Supporting People Programme, which helped over 60,000 vulnerable people in Wales last year.
The Supporting People Programme provides housing related support to help people live independently in their community, whether in their own homes or in hostels, sheltered housing or other supported accommodation. It assists a broad range of vulnerable people including those who are homeless, at risk of domestic violence, elderly, disabled, young people leaving care, people with mental health problems or those with complex needs.
Last year, the programme received a £10million reduction in funding; a real terms cut of 8.3%. The Welsh Liberal Democrats are calling on the Welsh Government to protect funding for the scheme in the forthcoming 2016-17 budget.
Commenting, Welsh Liberal Democrat Housing Spokesperson, Peter Black AM said:
“The Supporting People Programme offers invaluable support for vulnerable people to live independently within their community and to end social exclusion. I have visited a number of excellent projects in my region supported by this vital funding and have seen first-hand the transformational impact it can have on the lives of those in need.
“Last year the programme received a £10million cut in funding, which put a huge strain on the delivery of services. Investment in this scheme offers huge savings to the public purse; easing the pressure on health and social services by preventing homelessness, aiding recovery and reducing reliance on hospitalisation and other acute services. It is estimated that every £1 spent on the Supporting People Programme can save up to £2.30 for the public purse.
“However, it’s not just about the financial impact. So many of those that benefit from the Supporting People Programme are truly inspirational, overcoming some of the most difficult times in their lives and going on to achieve success and rebuild a better future for themselves and their families. We are urging the Welsh Government to protect this funding in next year’s budget, so that it can continue to play a vital role in supporting those most in need.”
Auriol Miller, Director of Cymorth Cymru, added:
“I’m really pleased to see the Welsh Liberal Democrats taking this opportunity to raise awareness of the Supporting People Programme and the many benefits it brings to people and communities across Wales. The programme plays a key role in both preventing homelessness and enabling some of the most marginalised and vulnerable people to live independently in their own homes.
“Supporting People has always enjoyed strong cross-party support across the Assembly and, with difficult budgetary decisions on the horizon, we hope that this support can continue for what really is a vital programme.”
Stuart Ropke, Chief Executive of Community Housing Cymru said:
“The Supporting People Programme has been a vital lifeline for the 60,000 people it has supported over the last year. The programme prevents homelessness, and reduces pressure on health, social services and criminal justice budgets.
“We welcome the Welsh Liberal Democrats’ debate raising this issue today, and call on all parties in the Senedd to continue the strong cross-party support for this essential programme.”
Funding for the Supporting People Programme in 2014-15 was £134.4m and £124.5m in 2015-16.
Cymorth Cymru is the umbrella body for providers of homelessness, housing-related support and social care services in Wales.
Community Housing Cymru Group is a registered charity that represents over 70 not-for-profit housing associations and community mutuals in Wales.