Episode 4

Prevention Across the Globe 1: Duty to Assist in Wales

How can we ensure that our decision-makers are held accountable for addressing homelessness?


Stephen Gaetz
Peter Mackie

Live Session on

April 24, 2024

Discover the power of legislative action in preventing homelessness!

Duty to Assist” is a homelessness prevention strategy that has successfully been implemented in Wales to enforce the Human Right to Housing. It is a form of legislation that holds local authorities, such as governments, accountable for their role in preventing homelessness. With Duty to Assist in place, authorities are legally required to make reasonable efforts to assist households that are at risk of homelessness and help to secure housing for those already experiencing homelessness.

Our fourth Prevention Matters! panel session discussed this transformative approach to homelessness prevention. Peter Mackie (Centre for Homelessness Impact, Cardiff University) is the key architect behind implementing the Duty to Assist in Wales, and he shared powerful insights on what it took to make this work happen, along with key learnings.


Stephen Gaetz is the President of the Canadian Observatory on Homelessness and the Homeless Hub at York University as well as co-Director of Making the Shift – Youth Homelessness Social Innovation Lab and the United Nations Centre of Excellence on Youth Homelessness Prevention (Toronto). Dr. Gaetz works in collaboration with partners to conduct research and mobilize this knowledge so as to have a greater impact on solutions to homelessness, and in particular the prevention of homelessness.


Peter Mackie is a Research Associate at Centre for Homelessness Impact and Professor at the School of Geography and Planning at Cardiff University. The primary focus of Peter’s research is on the development of homelessness policy and law through research and advisory work, particularly in relation to homelessness prevention. Most notably, he led the 2012 review of homelessness legislation in Wales that formed the basis of the Housing (Wales) Act 2014.