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24 children in Conwy living in temporary accommodation, cabinet member reveals

Conwy County Council

TWENTY-FOUR children in Conwy are living in bed and breakfast accommodation, the council’s cabinet member for housing has revealed.

Speaking at this week’s AGM, Conwy’s cabinet member for housing, homelessness, and service change Cllr Emily Owen gave an overview of the housing crisis the authority is facing.

Cllr Owen revealed that the number of children in temporary accommodation had reduced from 90 last year.

“Rents are still incredibly high. Support services are diminishing. People are struggling with their mental health,” she said.

“People are just generally really struggling still. The numbers of people who are presenting as homeless and are in temporary accommodation are still high; however, this time last year, there were over 90 children in bed and breakfast. Now we’ve only got 24, as we have been really prioritising alternative types of accommodation for those children because we recognise that bed and breakfast isn’t the right environment for anyone but particularly not for children.

“With the current housing crisis and increasing complex cases, it means the team are responding to a lot more challenging circumstances, and a lot of that can easily go unnoticed because the crisis is avoided.”

Cllr Owen then explained the council’s housing department had boosted funds by £8m from the Welsh Government’s Transitional Accommodation Capital Funding Programme (TACP), allowing the council to buy homes.

The cabinet member explained buying back homes allowed the council to place people back into accommodation more quickly than building new homes.

“That programme across the county has meant that our housing partners have delivered 61 new homes this year for that, and it is really good news as it means we are able to move families out from lengthy stays in temporary accommodation and bed and breakfast into a home,” she said.

“And for the first time in nearly 16 years, Conwy County Council now owns a small number of properties again, and I think that really demonstrates our commitment to getting people out of temporary accommodation and to help do our bit with the housing crisis.

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“On empty homes, the team have brought in 78 homes back into use this year, which is nearly double the amount for the previous four years, and our homeless prevention figures are really good at 82.5%, and the team have done a phenomenal job in supporting our Ukrainian refugee guests to settle within Conwy.”

Cllr Owen then said she wanted to end the stigma around homelessness.

“Just to remind everybody that homelessness can happen to anybody, and there is still a real misconception that homelessness is to do with drugs and alcohol. Whilst some people maybe be struggling with this, a lot are not,” she said.

“I had a quick look on Rightmove last night, and in Conwy there’s a two-bedroom home going for nearly £1,000 a month.

“When you’ve got an average wage of £28,000, it’s not affordable because wages just haven’t kept up with rent. A cost-of-living crisis is going on with bills continuing to escalate, and there is such a range of reasons why people will find themselves homeless, so can we all do all we can to try and dispel the myths about homelessness and really help us break that stigma.”

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