Bridgend Council Launches Public Consultation on New Strategy to Tackle Homelessness and Housing Waitlists
Bridgend Council has launched a public consultation on plans for a new five-year strategy to tackle homelessness and reduce the waiting lists for social housing across the borough as new figures revealed the growing extent of the problem.
The draft Housing Support Programme Strategy for 2022 – 2026, was discussed at the council’s monthly cabinet meeting, with members also discussing plans to submit their Rapid Rehousing Transitional Plan and a Housing Prospectus to Welsh Government.
One of the main aims of the plan is to clear the backlog of households in temporary accommodation in Bridgend, ensuring that homelessness is prevented, and where it can’t be, reducing time spent in temporary accommodation.
In the report, councillors heard how there are currently more than 2,300 applicants on the county’s common housing register, which represents an increase of nearly 40% on last year and 205% since 2016. Officers also described how issues were made worse by a lack of social housing on offer, along with an ever-increasing demand for housing.
It added that there are currently 253 households across Bridgend County Borough in temporary accommodation in 2022-23 compared to 71 households in 2018/2019, and showed that as of 2021-22 there were 1,290 homeless presentations in the borough.
The aims for the new strategy, which is now required by the Welsh Government, will focus on six main strategic priorities which include:
Increase the supply of suitable accommodation to meet the housing needs of applicants
To implement a Rapid Rehousing Transitional Plan
Provide an accessible, flexible and responsive service to meet needs, through a skilled and valued workforce
To improve collaboration with key stakeholders at a strategic level to improve homelessness prevention
Enhance and increase the services for those with complex needs
Take an assertive, collaborative and multi-disciplined approach to support rough sleepers
Speaking at the meeting, council leader Huw David welcomed the latest draft of the plans, saying that the huge leap in figures could leave people with even longer waiting times for housing if left unchecked.
He said: “The reality is most of those people are going to be waiting on that housing register for at least a year, and at the current rate of construction of new homes, the waiting time isn’t going to get shorter it’s going to get longer.”
Cllr Rhys Goode added: “There is significant pressure on housing and homelessness in Bridgend. We have over 2,500 on the common housing register, we have over 250 people in temporary accommodation waiting for homes, and 51% of that temporary accommodation currently is in tourist accommodation.
“This is an important step forward in finding ways that we can move away from that because we all know that isn’t something that years ago we would ever have envisaged, something we ever thought that we’d have to do, but it is where we are. I know the team are working very hard along with myself to look for those different models and different ways of housing people.”
The draft plans have now been approved to go out to consultation by members, with hopes that residents will engage and provide real world experience to their findings.
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