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Plaid Cymru raises concerns over temporary accommodation figures

A PLAID Cymru councillor has questioned whether vulnerable people are receiving adequate support, with 1,139 people in Gwent currently living in temporary accommodation.

A Freedom of Information (FOI) request has revealed, that as of July 2022, there are 251 households living in temporary accommodation in Caerphilly County Borough.

In Newport, this figure is higher, with 381 living in temporary accommodation as of November 2022, and in Monmouthshire there are 279. Torfaen’s figure is slightly lower with 169 households living in temporary accommodation, but the lowest in Gwent is Blaenau Gwent with 59 households.

Plaid Cymru councillor Steve Skivens, who represents Penyrheol in Caerphilly, described the figures as “really worrying”.

Cllr Steve Skivens

He added: “They reveal a large number of vulnerable families with children and individuals having to turn to local authorities for temporary accommodation, in many cases outside of their council area.

“People moved away are not able to draw support from friends, family or their social workers. Given the cost-of-living crisis hitting everyone, my fear is that the situation could get far worse.

“While many people are rehoused quickly, some individuals face really long waits of over a year up to almost four years.”

The longest wait for a permanent home was in Newport, with one household living in temporary accommodation since February, 2019 – nearly four years.

One household in Caerphilly County Borough has been in temporary accommodation for 917 days.

Cllr Skivens said: “In Caerphilly we have seen day centres closed for years and carers left with few options than to care for their loved ones at home. Loss of social care staff and recruitment problems in sustaining key services is creating huge pressure on existing staff, families and individuals.

“In my area a continuing lack of social housing creates a longer-term issue that requires resolving. Not vast house-building estates but local, small, developments to accommodate those in need or those requiring supported living.

“Councils need to step back and view what is happening to our vulnerable people today to avert a long-term legacy on these individuals, families, carers and the services provided.”

The council’s cabinet member for housing, Cllr Shayne Cook, has acknowledged the need for social housing in Gwent and across Wales.

Cllr Shayne Cook

Cllr Cook said: “The Labour administration in Caerphilly has prioritised the need for more social housing through our council homes building programme and by buying back ex-council homes that were sold through the Right to Buy scheme.”

He continued: “The cost-of-living crisis is having an impact right across the UK.

“Caerphilly Council has tried to provide support to over 4,000 council tenants by generating more than £3 million in savings and helping residents to reduce their debt by accessing more than £500,000 of Housing Support Grants, with a further £400,000 of additional income.”