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Revolutionising the homelessness data infrastructure in Wales: a CaCHE and Welsh Government collaboration

CaCHE and Welsh Government have agreed to jointly fund a feasibility study that could radically change the evidence base on homelessness in Wales.

Dr Ian Thomas, a Research Support Officer at the Administrative Data Research Centre Wales (ADRC-W) at Cardiff University, will work with Welsh Government on a part-time basis for a year, introducing new expertise and capacity, with the primary focus of exploring the feasibility of  introducing an individual  level data collection, reporting and analysis in relation to homelessness in Wales.

This feasibility study is the first of an extensive programme of staff secondments being facilitated and funded through CaCHE, promoting mobility between the academy and policy and practice communities. Significantly, this project brings together several ESRC investments (CaCHE, WISERD, ADRN) and highlights the commitment of CaCHE and Welsh Government to the potential of data linkage and to one of society’s most pressing and persistent challenges – homelessness.

Dr. Peter Mackie, who leads the CaCHE regional hub in Wales and a collaborator in the project proposal explained:

‘For several years there have been discussions about making a radical shift towards individual level data recording and reporting in relation to homelessness in Wales.

‘Homelessness remains a vitally important social and political priority in Wales, as evidenced by the recent National Assembly for Wales inquiry into rough sleeping and the introduction of the Housing (Wales) Act 2014.

‘This project is timely and has the potential to lay the ground for significant improvements to the homelessness data infrastructure, which will provide a strong evidence base to inform the future of homelessness policy.’

This welcome initiative complements the two existing exemplar projects which are partnered with ESRC data investments in Scotland – one with the Administrative Data Research Centre (Scotland) and also one project with the Urban Big Data Centre.