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Council sees increase in demand for emergency accommodation

MORE than 160 families are in need of emergency temporary accommodation, Flintshire Council’s leadership has been told.

The authority’s ruling cabinet received the figure in an update on homelessness and rough sleeping in the county, at their monthly meeting.

Cllr Sean Bibby. Source – Flintshire Council

Shotton West Cllr Sean Bibby, cabinet member for housing presented the report which said significant pressures had been created since the pandemic, due to the cost of living and housing crisis.

Cllr Bibby said: “The cost of living crisis and housing market conditions are increasing the levels of homelessness, placing more burden, operationally and financially, on the council.

“The local private sector housing market is seeing significant challenges with fewer properties available each year and many landlords leaving the market.

“This creates homelessness as properties are sold, residents are asked to leave and the availability of fewer properties resulting in them becoming completely unaffordable.”

Changes to the Housing Wales Act which ensures ‘no one is left out’ has carried on from the pandemic, meaning more single people are eligible for accommodation, increasing demand.

Martin Cooil, the authority’s housing manager, said the council has engaged consultants to do a “deep dive” into the local marketplace which has seen more competition for available properties.

He said: “It’s very clear that availability over the last three of four years has gone down 50 per cent and rent charges are up significantly in every part of the county.

“There are massive drivers and barriers when it comes to the creation of homelessness.”

He added that there are more than 160 households in need of emergency temporary accommodation in Flintshire.

“All the signs are that the demand is increasing and it’s an important issue for us to monitor and respond to”, Mr Cooil said.

Queensferry and Sealand Cllr Christine Jones (Lab), cabinet member for social care, thanked Mr Cooil’s team for being proactive in helping rough sleepers within Flintshire.

She said: “As soon as you report through Streetlink or straight to one of the team they are there, looking after that person, giving them help and support, providing them with accommodation.

“So we know in Flintshire that anybody who is rough sleeping through no fault of their own is being looked after and are not having to sleep on our streets.”