…By for TDPel Media.
Bridgend Council has initiated a public consultation to address homelessness and reduce social housing waiting lists through a new five-year strategy.
The decision was prompted by recently released figures revealing the escalating scale of homelessness across the borough.
Draft Housing Support Programme Strategy for 2022-2026
The draft Housing Support Programme Strategy for the years 2022 to 2026 was a topic of discussion during the council’s monthly cabinet meeting.
Members also deliberated on submitting a rapid rehousing transitional plan and a housing prospectus to the Welsh Government.
Clearing the Backlog of Temporary Accommodation
The primary objective of the plan is to resolve the backlog of households residing in temporary accommodation in Bridgend.
The strategy aims to prevent homelessness and, where unavoidable, reduce the duration of time spent in temporary housing.
Growing Housing Demand and Waiting Lists
According to the report presented to the councilors, the county currently has over 2,300 applicants on the common housing register, indicating a nearly 40% increase from the previous year and a staggering 205% increase since 2016.
The shortage of available social housing and the rising demand for housing have compounded the issue.
As of 2022-23, there are 253 households in temporary accommodation, compared to 71 households in 2018-2019.
Furthermore, the data from 2021-22 demonstrates 1,290 instances of homelessness in the borough.
Strategic Priorities of the New Plan
The new strategy, mandated by the Welsh Government, focuses on six key priorities:
1. Increasing the supply of suitable accommodation to meet housing needs.
2. Implementing a rapid rehousing transitional plan.
3. Providing an accessible, flexible, and responsive service through a skilled workforce.
4. Enhancing collaboration with key stakeholders to improve homelessness prevention.
5. Improving and expanding services for individuals with complex needs.
6. Adopting an assertive, collaborative, and multi-disciplined approach to support rough sleepers.
Council Leader’s Concerns
During the meeting, Council Leader Huw David expressed concern over the significant increase in figures, emphasizing that unchecked growth could lead to even longer waiting times for housing.
He noted that most people on the housing register could expect to wait at least a year, and with the current pace of new home construction, the waiting times are likely to extend further.
Commitment to Find Solutions
Councilor Rhys Goode acknowledged the substantial pressure on housing and homelessness in Bridgend.
He highlighted the need to find alternative housing models to move away from the reliance on tourist accommodations, which currently make up 51% of temporary housing.
Plans Approved for Public Consultation
The draft plans have received approval for public consultation by the council members.
The hope is that residents will actively engage and provide real-world experiences to inform the finalization of the strategy.
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