Monmouthshire County Council is calling on vulnerable residents who may be struggling financially or experiencing other difficulties to access a collection of services aimed at preventing homelessness. The call comes as the effects of the pandemic and the impact on the economy are felt across Monmouthshire and Wales.
The group of services, offering a wide range of specialised support, is funded by the Welsh Government’s Housing Support Grant. The core purpose is to prevent homelessness and enable people to have the capability, independence, skills and confidence to access and maintain a stable and suitable home. Individuals can access advice about budgeting/managing money, help with applying for benefits and grants, support with social inclusion and developing daily living skills, as well as support with housing problems. The Housing Support Grant was introduced in April 2019 and is an amalgamation of three existing grants; Supporting People Programme, Homelessness Prevention Grant and Rent Smart Wales Enforcement.
The Housing Support Grant funds over 30 different specialist service areas. The services are accessible to any person over the age of 16 who requires housing related support to help them maintain/sustain their home and live independently within the community. The services also include support for people experiencing domestic abuse, people with physical or learning disabilities, mental health issues, substance misuse issues, a criminal offending history, refugees, people living with chronic illnesses and those with support needs. In light of the concern of a rise in domestic abuse cases during lockdown, the team has placed a specific focus on supporting anyone who may be experiencing or who has experienced domestic abuse.
Anyone needing to access support should contact the ‘Gateway’ service which acts as a referral route into all the support services. The ‘Gateway’ will undertake an evaluation of need and try to match people to the most suitable service for them. In addition, referrals can usually be made by contacting staff at the One Stop Shop or Community Hubs in Chepstow, Abergavenny, Monmouth and Caldicot, however due to the current COVID-19 restrictions in place people are urged to contact the Gateway service in the first instance.
Cabinet Member for Social Justice and Community Development, Councillor Sara Jones said: “We have seen just how devastating the pandemic has been to our communities in Monmouthshire. The impact on the economy means many people have lost their jobs or are struggling financially. It is our priority to make sure we prevent homelessness and support anyone facing financial difficulty. We are proud to work with an army of experienced organisations who are able to offer expert help in a range of different circumstances. I would encourage anyone facing hardship of any kind to please get in touch via our Gateway service so we can get the right help for you.”
Contact can be made directly to the Gateway service by calling 01633 644 644.