A FORMER care home could be used to house homeless people under plans being considered by a council.
The Severn View Residential Home in Chepstow is due to close later this year, when it will be replaced by a new home the council is funding at Crick Road in nearby Portskewett.
The Severn View home is in Mounton Road, where houses can sell for up to £500,000, and close to the Marks and Spencer’s supermarket and fire station.
Monmouthshire County Council, which owns and runs the Severn View home, is looking at whether repurposing it could help reduce the amount of money spent on housing homeless people, including families, in hotels and bed and breakfast accommodation.
Cllr Paul Griffiths, the cabinet member responsible for homelessness, said the council wants to move people from hotels to “more cost-effective accommodation” using its existing assets.
“One of those most obvious options would be the spaces in the Severn View residential home as the new residential home becomes available later in the year,” said Cllr Griffiths.
“We are thoroughly testing that as an option but it is not a concluded decision at this stage.”
The Chepstow Castle and Larkfield Labour councillor, who is also the deputy leader, was speaking at a scrutiny committee which was examining the budget for the coming year in which the council must make £8.4 million worth of cuts and savings.
It hopes to save £400,000 a year by reducing its use of hotel and bed and breakfast accommodation for homeless people. Cllr Griffiths said that would equate to moving around 20 people out of B&Bs, but he described that figure as “a fraction of the total”.
Some B&Bs would still likely have to be used and Cllr Griffiths added: “It’s not a wholesale movement of bed and breakfast provision. A fraction of that will achieve this saving.”
Council officer Cath Fallon said the council has been looking at buildings where it can provide “wrap-around support on-site” and that people would only be in temporary accommodation for “the shortest amount of time possible.”
Caldicot Cross councillor Jackie Strong said she was concerned if it meant moving all those in temporary accommodation to a single site and creating “mini-institutions”.
“If we’re saying Severn View is not fit for the residents already there with dementia why is it fit for homeless people?” asked the Labour councillor.
She also asked if the funding for the new Crick Road home was dependent on the sale of Severn View site.
Cllr Griffiths said the Crick Road home is being funded from borrowing and a pot of money from capital receipts from the sale of other assets.
Using Severn View for homeless accommodation would mean the council missing out on a potential £900,000 receipt from a sale, that would have gone into the pot, but Cllr Griffiths said that is being done to save £400,000 a year.
He also acknowledged there would be costs from using the home and said security alone could come in at £300,000 a year.
The Labour-led cabinet has already agreed vacant cottages on its county farm estates can be used for homeless accommodation but Cllr Griffiths said that will only provide “a small number” of properties.
Figures from the end of October 2023 show the council was providing bed and accommodation for 45 people which it said was a 50 per cent reduction on the peak number last year, but it typically sees demand increase over the winter.
At a council meeting in January it was stated there are 370 families in Chepstow waiting for accommodation.