Another ‘homelessness’ outfit!


This is just a ‘quickie’ to reassure my countless fans in Corruption Bay that the Grim Reaper has not come a-calling at Chateau Jac.

Were that to happen then the weeping and wailing would be heard from the Afan Valley Adventure Resort to Llangefni Shire Hall. (How are those projects progressing, by the way?) The resultant tsunami of grief from political and third sector circles, the tourism industry, and those who have come to Wales to invest dirty money, would take us from pandemic to total catastrophe. Catastrophe, I tells ye!

As the title suggests, this piece is about homelessness. I take the view that it’s inevitable people will become homeless; some through no fault of their own, others though making the wrong lifestyle choices. Whether both groups should be helped in the same way, and treated equally, is a discussion for another time and another place.

My criticism stems from the fact that there are clearly individuals and organisations exploiting homelessness in their own interests. The evidence is everywhere. When I submitted a FoI to the self-styled ‘Welsh Government’ in late 2017 the reply told me that Wales already had 48 organisations involved in what I make no apologies for having called ‘the homelessness racket’.

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And now I’ve run across another member of the cartel, this one called Housing Justice, yet another English organisation that has added ‘Cymru’ to its name and branched out into Wales in the era of devolution. And it’s always Wales, never Scotland.

They come because they know they’ll got a good reception – and funding – from the ‘Welsh Government’. For nowhere else on Earth does the third sector exercise such influence over an administration. In fact, it is part of the administration.

That, and the fact that due to policing, justice and prisons not being devolved, added to the mess of a privatised and inefficient probation service, has resulted in Wales becoming a dumping ground for England’s problems.

And this unhealthy influence of the third sector is no recent phenomenon, as this report from a decade and a half ago confirms.

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In terms of funding, Housing Justice – which is both a company and a charity – is not a major drain on the public purse like some of the other players in the business. Its role seems to be more of a facilitator, or a link. What I’m trying to explain will become clear later.

As I said, this is an English organisation, with its headquarters in London, and run by Christians of various denominations. Housing Justice Cymru was set up in 2016, though this brief article suggests that HJ was already operating here, with Wales regarded as a ‘region’. Presumably of England.

For the piece I’ve just linked to tells us, “first director will be Sharon Lee, currently acting coordinator for Housing Justice’s Faith in Affordable Housing project, Wales region”.

So who is Sharon Lee? Well, she’s chair of our old friends Wales & West Housing, and also CEO of Aelwyd Housing.

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You’ll probably remember that Wales & West CEO, Anne Hinchey, is also a devout Christian, as are others connected with W&W. Which I’ve always thought was odd. For Wales & West is undoubtedly one of Labour’s favoured housing associations, if not the outright favourite.

And yet, most of the bruvvers I’ve known over many years have been either agnostic or atheist. How do we reconcile a secular political party being so close to a housing association where, when it comes to recruiting and promoting staff, Christian belief may be more important than the qualifications and qualities necessary to run a multi-million pound business?

Before getting back to Housing Justice Cymru I’d like to mention something I picked up in the Annual Report and Accounts for 2019. On page 12 we read that among new projects set up in 2018 was one in ‘Chester (West Chester)’. So I checked the map provided by HJ, and I even tried Googling ‘Housing Justice Chester’ but there was nothing. The nearest shelter seems to be in Ellesmere Port, which is north of Chester.

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Mildly confused, but undaunted, I pressed on.

From what I can gather, Housing Justice Cymru‘s initial focus of operations was on Swansea Bay, with shelters in the city itself and in Neath Port Talbot. This may be due to the presence in Penclawdd of Mandy Bayton, a director of Housing Justice and something of a leader among those on a mission to do good.

But then, late in 2018, HJC launched night shelters in various Wrecsam churches. And once again we see the Wales & West link at work, for CEO Anne Hinchey never misses a photo opportunity.

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I’m in no doubt that the Wrecsam night shelter links with the opening of HMP Berwyn, the UK’s largest prison, the previous year. For prisoners released from Berwyn, with nowhere to go, become Wales’s responsibility, even though most of them come from outside Wales.

I’m equally sure that the Wrecsam night shelter is the one referred to as ‘Chester (West Chester)’ in the HJ Annual Report. This is reminiscent of the ‘West Cheshire’ deception used by estate agents hoping to sell local properties to those who can be persuaded that Froncysyllte and Rhosllanerchrugog are Anglo-Saxon place names.

But if you really are that stupid, then Jac’s got magic beans . . .

Though in the case of Housing Justice Cymru I’m sure it’s a genuine mistake. Which means that HJC thinks the largest town in northern Wales is part of Chester.

That picture of the ubiquitous Anne Hinchey comes from the Housing Justice Cymru Facebook page. Where I also turned this up.

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I mention it because it might link with this story from the BBC yesterday about cabins for homeless people in Llandudno and Bae Colwyn. Though Housing Justice Cymru is not mentioned, only Cais. If they’re both running schemes for the homeless in these towns then rough sleepers should be well catered for.

But will there be enough to go round? Or will we see homelessness outfits fighting on the streets of Rhyl, Prestatyn and Colwyn Bay just like the drugs gangs from north west England fight in these towns over their customers?

What am I saying! There’s plenty more over the border, both homeless and drug addicts.

Cais, you’ll recall, appeared here not so long ago, in this post. Cais is one of the major players in the A55 homelessness/social dumping racket. With the latest accounts reporting an income of £10m, half of which goes on salaries – £70,000+ for the CEO – but still manages to leave £1.6m in the bank.

According to the Charity Commission website Cais operates in ‘Lancashire and throughout Wales’ but the ‘area of benefit’ is ‘Wales and the Marches’. The composite below makes me think of a number of problems.

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First, putting Lancashire ahead of Wales rather gives away Cais’ priorities (though the map also covers Cumbria!). Second, how can importing criminals and drug addicts from Manchester and Liverpool be of ‘benefit’ to Wales, or the Marches? Third, how can the ‘Welsh Government’ and local authorities fund an organisation that is so obviously working to the disadvantage of Wales?

Clearly Cais and Housing Justice treat Wales with some contempt. To them we are just an appendage into which England’s problems can be dumped. But that’s how the homelessness racket operates.

Don’t get me wrong, I understand that homeless people/rough sleepers move around of their own volition, but what we have in Wales is organisations that are quite blatant in importing homeless and rough sleepers. While in the north the problem has been exacerbated by the opening of HMP Berwyn, with capacity for over 2,000 prisoners.

Before finally explaining what I believe is going on, here’s another little insult from the Housing Justice Cymru Facebook page.

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“We simply can’t find enough ways to say thank you”, it says. Why not try ‘Diolch’?

Incidentally, the Caer Las mentioned in the FB post is another third sector outfit based in Swansea that deals almost exclusively with released prisoners, who are often housed in cheap property bought in residential areas. Caer Las has made itself very unpopular over the years, especially in Llanelli.

In addition to setting up night shelters and serving up hot soup, Housing Justice Cymru is also in partnership with housing associations; not just Wales & West but also Pobl.

Proof comes in the form of Jonathan Hughes, based in Swansea, who “is a Catalyst Worker for Housing Justice in Wales”. (I thought it was called Housing Justice Cymru.) Before joining Housing Justice Cymru Hughes was Director of Development (West) for the Pobl Group, headquartered in Newport.

Now to explain what I believe is behind it.

Like other homelessness organisations Housing Justice Cymru controls valuable ‘assets’ – in the form of homeless people. Which makes HJC attractive to housing associations. Wales & West of Cardiff has a limited presence in the Swansea area; how better to increase its footprint than by linking – via the Christian connection – with a group already established in the area.

In the north, we have a Category C prison that is way too big for our needs providing a regular supply of ‘clients’ for third sector bodies like homelessness organisations, using Welsh public funds. (Or whatever is left over after salaries, junkets and jollies.) Berwyn has become a magnet for both third sector outfits and housing associations.

In addition, we have bodies like Cais importing directly.

But the ‘homelessness’ organisations have to be there first to confirm that people are homeless and in need of somewhere to live. These then become prospective tenants for Wales & West and others. And because of the backgrounds and ‘issues’ of these homeless, housing associations can demand – and get – top dollar.

In essence, we have developed a system that sees housing associations ‘feed off’ homelessness organisations. For housing associations this is much more lucrative than housing law-abiding and hard-working Welsh people.

And to help facilitate this relationship we have people like Sharon Lee, director of Housing Justice Cymru and chair of Wales & West. And she’s not the only one with a foot in both camps.

The third sector in Wales is, increasingly, run by people who have moved to Wales themselves making careers out of exploiting others that they or someone else has dumped on us. And we pay for this.

Not just in direct funding, but also in blighted communities, added pressure on the NHS, more work for our police and courts. So look at the big picture, which is so easily lost when you’re on the moral high ground hugging each other for being so virtuous.

When Labour loses next year’s Assembly elections, whoever takes over should reform the third sector as a priority. And use the money saved for what Wales really needs.

Little things like an economy, an education system, a health system, infrastructure and all the other things prosperous and well-run countries take for granted.

For just as nobody ever got rich working for somebody else, no country ever prospered from allowing itself to be constantly shat on by its neighbour.

♦ end ♦

19 thoughts on “Another ‘homelessness’ outfit!

  1. Gruff Williams

    Prediction: Turnout for the Senedd election will decline further, leading more people to see it as an increasingly irrelevant waste of money. Labour will still get the largest number of seats and will go into coalition with Plaid as the junior partner. This will enable Plaid to push through some decent “nation building” policies but it will be too little too late. Massive demographic change (English immigration) will continue and accelerate. I give us twenty years. By that I mean a definable Wales within which resides a majority claiming a Welsh identity.

  2. Dafis

    Interesting to note that Andrew Davies AM was compelled to write to the UK Minister regarding the plight of the agri sector in Wales. However I suspect that this is merely a political pose to reinforce his obvious hostility to the Cardiff Labour regime as writing to Westminster is tantamount to having a little piss into the wind.

    Those fuckers in London are the ultimate partners in scams like re-wilding and Monbiotism in general. If they had harboured any strong commitment to the idea of family farms producing dairy, meat and vegetables they would have found a way a long time ago to kick Monbiot and his fellow travellers into the very long grass (and set fire to it if necessary to permanently eradicate this relatively new type of vermin).

  3. John Young

    ‘When Labour loses next year’s Assembly elections’.

    Please God this happens next year. It’s going to be a very interesting election.

    1. Jonathan Edwards

      Well, really depends on what happens when the results come in. Labour could and should lose seats. Problem is that Plaid and Cons are way behind. Very likely, “Labour could lose” only if Plaid then does a deal with Cons. What’s your guess? Wales needs to raise and spend its own taxes like any other country. Cons agree, provided Wales keeps the Queen, which we would. Just what is wrong with that deal, Plaid? Rational answers only please. No Derangement Syndrome needed.

      1. Dafis

        “No Derangement Syndrome needed”…… well that seriously inhibits the range of answers. A few surviving rank and file members could give rational responses but the leadership group are heavily into that D.S condition.

      2. John Young

        Depending on what happens over the next 12 months the fallout from the coronavirus pandemic could cause some pretty seismic things to happen.

        Many people in Wales have been ambivalent toward politics for a long time (very low voter turnouts) but literally EVERYONE is now watching how this crisis unfolds and will be judging Welsh Labour on their record.

        They’ll also be judging Westminster. What if the UK does end up with the highest death toll in Europe ? What if the UK Government relaxes the lockdown gradually, starting with London ? What if we then get hordes of English people descending on Wales because ‘lockdown is over’ ? Not too fanciful that one. Many of them have taken no notice while it’s actually in place.

        The last part of your post I presume refers to Independence. What’s this ‘we would keep the Queen ?’. We’d only ‘keep the Queen’ if a majority of Welsh people voted for it. I certainly wouldn’t

        1. It’s not just responses – or the lack thereof – to coronavirus that will damage the ‘Welsh Government’. This pandemic, and the resultant lockdown, have brought holiday homes back into focus, and re-awakened old animosities.

          It was bad enough when wealthy English second home owners were escaping to their bijou cottages in the hills or on the coast, but the news today that some of these bastards will be receiving a windfall of £10,000 (possibly more) has really put the cap on it. The ‘Welsh Government’ will suffer because it has refused to close the ‘small business’ loophole exploited by many second home owners to escape council tax and now to qualify for the windfall.

          Labour must be hoping that the anger will be confined to rural areas where it has little support and almost no representation. But I doubt if it will, and when coupled with the ineptitude on display over coronavirus, added to everything else that’s wrong with Wales, I suggest Labour might be lucky to get more than 20 seats next year. And with Plaid Cymru fading away a coalition might not be possible.

          Everything is up grabs. Including independence.

          To address en passant Jonathan’s point about the monarchy; I have never felt any hostility towards Elizabeth II, she’s always stuck me as a rather decent woman surrounded by odd and embarrassing relatives, starting with her husband. I could tolerate a couple of years with her as head of state of an independent or self-governing Wales. But she’s 93, and when she’s gone, the monarchy goes with her. King Charles III? Never.

        2. Brychan

          Please could the president of the United States provide the same assistance to Mark Drakeford, in the same way as he helped Boris Johnson just before he was rushed to intensive care?


          Wales needs help.

  4. Wynne

    Well done Jac. Even under lock-down your posts keep emerging. I sometimes despair and wonder when our elected representatives will understand what is really happening in Wales and decide to do something about it. I think we can give up on Labour, and their associates Plaid, and look to other new emerging political parties in Wales to address the issues.

    1. Thanks, Wynne. Someone just sent me this letter from Tory MPs to Gary and Lesley. I’m waiting to see if Plaid Cymru supports our farmers or its friends in the Labour Party.
      (Here in pdf.)

      MPs to Lesley Griffiths

  5. Dafis

    From what is written it appears that Housing Justice operates as a “broker” far more than as a “provider” of accommodation. That said there has to be a volume of demand out there to justify taking up the role of broker. The fact that likes of W&W makes grants from their own coffers indicates a symbiotic relationship – you find ’em, we’ll house them – which is fair enough if there wasn’t anybody else looking out for people sleeping rough and seeking homes for them.

    Is this the next stage in the growth of a multi-level market ? Agents and brokers feeding housing associations by dragging in likely occupants from far and wide ? Will there be an international exchange ? surely not with us out of the EU, but it’s only a short step to widening the scope to cater for refugees and other migrants in difficulties.

    I begin to wonder which housing association will be the first to get a FTSE 100 listing with top execs on 7 figure salaries and all the other revolting characteristics that go with such organisations.

    1. That’s what I was trying to say. The homelessness outfits have to be there first, their imprimatur confirms homeless status, which then makes them eligible for a housing association property. In normal circumstances I would have no issue with this, but our relationship with England – as coronavirus, PPE and testing has shown – is not normal, or equal. And when we have companies like Cais Ltd, being quite open about what they’re doing, then we should not accept it.

    2. Brychan

      If you are sentenced to prison you can still claim housing benefit to pay rent (or mortgage interest) that you need to pay while serving your sentence. This applies for a period of 13 weeks (52 weeks if held on remand). This is designed to prevent those entering prison for such a period becoming homeless upon their release.

      The rent is paid by the benefits system while the prisoner serves the sentence.

      There is an assumed half sentence tariff so a person sentenced to a prison term of six months or less will never become ‘homeless’. The maximum sentence that can be awarded by a magistrates court is six months. Therefore the those prisoners being accommodated by “Housing Justice” in this blog post are almost all those that have been sentenced to very serious offences in the crown court for a custodial term greater than six months.

      The only exception to this is where the prisoner is from a ‘family home’ and the court orders that the person, when sentence has been served, cannot return to that home, as in sex offenders and domestic violence. The ‘agency’ arrangement between Housing Justice and Wales and West Housing Association should therefore be considered in this context.

  6. Brychan

    There’s a homeless operation in Newport (Gwent), it’s called Edens Gate. Full details of their operation is detailed in a recent article on WalesOnline. It is here.

    It tells us that Newport City Council have made arrangements for these to be accommodated. So who are these individuals (Dean Sexton and Daniel Williams) mentioned in the article?
    Daniel Williams.
    The Cwmbran cocaine dealer.
    Dean Sexton.
    The abductor and rapist.

    While these individuals are getting a free ride with accommodation paid for, there are nurses and doctors who have died at the Royal Gwent Hospital. Also, a number of staff who are self-isolating and cannot go to their own homes to see their families.

    1. This is what I was alluding to in the opening paragraph.

      If some poor bugger is made homeless through no fault of their own, and especially if kids or other vulnerable people are involved, then they should be re-housed as close as possible to where they were living. But the two you’ve highlighted are convicted criminals who’ve made a lifestyle choice. There’s no element of Jean Valjean here. So what are we to do?

      If they keep re-offending – as seems likely they’ve been doing, certainly the rapist convicted in 1994 – then why should society continue to pick up the tab? And why should they be imposed on decent communities by housing associations? There is a case to be made for some sort of special accommodation for habitual criminals.

      1. Brychan

        I think you’ll find that such offenders ‘play the system’.

        If you are a single male and want to not only jump the housing queue for social housing, but get to choose where to be awarded housing, you can commit an offence. It is quite common for police officers to arrive at an incident of criminal damage to find the suspect waiting on-site asking to be arrested with hands outstretched ready for cuffs. Especially if they already have form. This allows the door to be opened for a short stretch, and when that prison door is opened again, there’s a reward of a newly refurbished house/flat upon release.

        Other methods are to get the girl pregnant just before going inside (jump the housing queue upon release with a new born) or getting a restraining order against a partner until better housing is delivered, then there’s a sudden reconciliation of a delightful couple into a new household.

        Bigger bonus if it’s at the seaside.

        1. That last part made me think of a story I was told a while back by a guy living in Barmouth. One of the redundant hotels there was converted into accommodation for victims of domestic abuse. The Barmouth air had a remarkable influence on troubled partnerships, for very soon after a woman was established in this accommodation her partner would turn up, they’d be reconciled, and would then demand permanent accommodation locally. Often, there would be a new arrival in the mix.

    2. Mel Morgan

      It is de rigueur to call such persons ‘clients’ of these bodies. They are, in fact, clientes in the original Roman sense. And the Greek for cliens is … you – yes, you, that boy at the back? Yes, well fine, Jones, R., it’s παρασιτος. Take a House point and move to the top of the class.

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