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Welsh councils are being urged to scrap intentional homelessness for people with children, by charity Shelter Cymru.

People are categorized as being ‘intentionally homeless’ if they deliberately lose their home. This means, for example, a woman who left a partner who was abusing her would be intentionally homeless.

But intentionally homeless people are not eligible for long-term accommodation from councils, even if they have children.

Welsh councils have until 2019 to remove the block on benefits for people who are intentionally homeless. Shelter Cymru want the Welsh Government’s target to happen sooner.

Jennie Bibbings, Shelter Cymru campaigns manager, said: “Councils could end it now, they have the power to, but they haven’t wanted to make a public statement.”

Ms Bibbings believes that many Welsh councils are making changes “behind the scenes”, but not publicly.

More than 5,200 households in Wales were found to have intentionally caused their own homelessness, over the last decade, according to Shelter Cymru’s research.

Previous research from the charity found a strong link between intentionality decisions and unmet support needs.

However, since the Housing (Wales) Act 2014 intentional homelessness decreased in Wales.

Local authorities told Shelter Cymru that a lack of longer-term support was a concern, as some people need years of support to maintain their housing.

One local authority stakeholder told Shelter Cymru: “We just don’t have as many spaces available to us for long-term intensive support.

“What we do have is very successful but when you look at housing someone for up to two years, then places are at a premium.”