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Bridgend Politics South Wales

Council to tackle homelessness after massive surge in temporary accommodation use

Park Street Bridgend (Pic: Lewis Smith)

BRIDGEND Council has agreed to a number of new rules and measures to address pressures on homelessness services in the borough.

The discussions took place at a cabinet meeting in March, where members heard the number of households seeking assistance has grown in the last five years, leading to a massive increase in spending on temporary accommodation.

Officers said they expected that about £4.8m will have been forked out on the service over the course of 2023-24, compared to £135,000 in 2017-18, which is an overall increase of 3,456%. 

The report also added there were 253 households in temporary accommodation at the end of 2022-23, up from just 71 at the end of 2018-19, due to what one councillor described as a “homelessness crisis in Wales”.

The report read: “The use of temporary accommodation has grown exponentially. Between 2018-19 and 2022-23, there was a 256% increase in the number of households in temporary accommodation.

“As of the end of February 2024, there are 495 individuals from 273 households in temporary accommodation.”

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It also added that as of the end of February, there were 2,575 applicants on the Common Housing Register.

In response to this demand, councillors approved the purchasing of homes in multiple occupation (HMOs), as well as the continuation of existing accommodation providers for up to 12 months, to address the “stark homelessness situation” across the county borough.

A council spokesperson said the move would work to “to alleviate the enormous demand for temporary accommodation, as well as make medium-term financial savings”.

They added that it could potentially cut the cost of providing a room from £85 per day to £25 per day, with a number of HMOs already identified.

Councillor Rhys Goode said: “Faced with a housing crisis across the whole of Wales, the council is taking innovative action to tackle these challenges and financial pressures, with the purchasing of HMOs.

“Additionally, the implementation of the action plan, highlighted in the Housing Support Strategy, has already begun. For example, the opening of a new supported accommodation service in October 2023, called Ty Ireland.

“This provides four units of long-term accommodation, with constant on-site assistance, for rough sleepers with complex mental health and/or substance misuse issues.

“The Leasing Scheme Wales is also in operation across the county borough. This is a partnership with private landlords, aiming to use properties from this sector for households needing accommodation.

“We are trying our very best to combat a situation that is mirrored throughout Wales, with creativity, drive, as well as sensitivity.”

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