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£17.5m.. and counting to tackle homelessness in Wales

February 27, 2013

Big Lottery Fund (BIG) Wales Director John Rose explains how some of the £100,000 a day we award to good causes in Wales is helping to prevent and tackle issues around homelessness:

Wales Director John Rose

Wales Director John Rose

Having worked for the Big Lottery Fund (BIG) for nearly a decade, I’ve seen firsthand through some of the great projects we support how homelessness can happen to anyone and how everyone’s story is different.

It’s common knowledge that homelessness has been on the rise in Wales since 2009 with experts identifying the poor economic climate and an undersupply of affordable homes as part of the problem. And with no sign of the economic downturn loosening its grip, we realise that during these hard economic times that projects which provide support for the homeless or tackle the root causes of homelessness need our help more than ever.

That’s why it’s good to hear that since the first National Lottery balls were rolled out in 1994, BIG has awarded nearly £17.5 million to over 120 worthy projects in Wales which either provide advice and support or aim to prevent homelessness. But it’s not about how much money we give out – it’s about the positive difference the money we award is having on the lives of people in communities most in need.

Whether it’s a small grant of £2,500 for St Catherine’s Church in Pontypridd to hold regular film evenings for homeless people or a large grant of over half a million pounds for Digartref Ynys Môn to provide specialist accommodation and housing support for homeless young people on Anglesey – I know that the projects we fund are making a truly remarkable difference to the lives of those who need their support.

And recent figures released by one of our funded organisations, Shelter Cymru, highlights exactly how their support is making a positive impact. The proportion of households who come to Shelter Cymru faced with mortgage repossessions has trebled in the past four years and the number of people in Wales claiming help from councils for homelessness has also gone up for the second year running. Last year Shelter Cymru dealt with nearly 17,000 housing problems in Wales and prevented homelessness in 89% of those cases. This is an example of the excellent work already being carried out by some of the organisations we fund throughout Wales.

And by adding value to the support and advice provided by our projects and other statutory and voluntary organisations in Wales, I believe we can all work together to make a big difference where tackling issues around homelessness is concerned.

Read the full feature in this week’s Big Issue.

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