The Public Policy Institute for Wales (PPIW) was asked to advise on what more the Welsh Government might do to tackle homelessness. We conducted a rapid evidence review to understand the current state of the evidence on homelessness better, both specific to Wales and further afield, and identify where further research might be needed.
In the last 15 years, the Welsh Government has commissioned over 15 reports related to homelessness. These have addressed a number of questions about homelessness prevention in Wales, housing solutions for specific target groups in Wales, the effectiveness of Welsh Government programmes, improving the health of the homeless, learning from experiences of the homeless and homelessness legislation in Wales. Beyond these publications there exists a multitude of reports on the causes of homelessness, good practice in homelessness prevention and designing services to meet the needs of the homeless.
The evidence shows that homelessness is a complex problem. It often has multiple causes that interact with one another in ways that vary at the individual level and require engagement with multiple policy areas. A ‘one-size-fits-all’ approach to tackling homelessness is unlikely to be successful. Individualised, professional support from multidisciplinary, joined-up services is important for tackling homelessness, and would likely bring improvements to other public services too.
In light of our review of the evidence and consultation with Welsh Government officials, we suggested several avenues for work to bolster evidence on tackling homelessness.