Setting out their views on the Welsh Government’s Draft Budget 2024-25, the Committee said:
“We welcome the excellent work undertaken by Care and Repair Cymru to enable older people to live independently in their own homes. We are interested in in the type of grant suggested by Care and Repair Cymru to rectify hazardous disrepair in people’s homes and think there is merit in exploring the introduction of such a grant.”
Care & Repair Cymru submitted written evidence to the Committee outlining why there is a need for housing repair services, supplementing our State of Older People’s Housing Report.
We highlighted increasing demand on our services and the increasing levels of disrepair we are seeing in Welsh homes. Requests for Care & Repair services have increased by 134% since 2018.
In 2022/23, Care & Repair completed 65,127 jobs in the home to improve housing accessibility and condition, totalling £18.3 million. Despite this, every day we come across unfit homes and serious disrepair where the needs of vulnerable older people cannot be met due to a lack of resource. Left unresolved, over time small repairs become large works and increasingly complex to resolve, especially in the current economic climate where multiple organisations are competing for dwindling benevolent funding.
The Committee asked the question directly to the Minister for Climate Change, Julie James MS, in her oral evidence session on the Draft Budget who agreed that the principle of a fund to rectify hazardous repair aligned with the principles of people living independently for longer, reducing pressure on support services.
We believe that a safety-net grant to rectify hazardous disrepair would support older people in Wales to live safely and independently at home and prevent avoidable hospital admissions. It would reduce the number of accidents at home and decrease ill-health from poor housing conditions.
Following are evidence submission and Minister’s evidence session, the Housing and Local Government Committee recommended that:
“Recommendation 16. The Welsh Government should work with Care and Repair Cymru to explore the introduction of a grant to rectify hazardous disrepair to enable older people to live safely and independently and to prevent hospital admissions because of accidents at home.”
You can read the full list of recommendations here.