Concern for number of homeless people in Cardiff with winter looming
Concerns have been raised about the number of homeless people in Cardiff, as a senior councillor warned the problem will get worse before it gets better.
Cardiff Council’s cabinet member for housing and communities, Cllr Lynda Thorne, said housing continues to be an area in the city which is under pressure with fewer council homes becoming available and more landlords leaving the rental market.
A council report updating members on the task facing the council’s housing team states that the local authority is accommodating about 80 people per night through its emergency out of hours provision.
The report reads: “This is a real cause for concern going into the winter months as the cold weather creates a significant increase in demand for this service.”
There is also a record high number of single and young people requiring temporary accommodation.
Cardiff Council has secured an additional hotel, which will provide 60 additional units for emergency accommodation, and work remains ongoing to deliver additional units at the Gasworks temporary accommodation site in Grangetown.
At a full council meeting on Thursday (26 October) Cllr Rhys Taylor said: “It is horrifying to think that we have those waiting times as we are heading into winter – colder, wetter and darker months.
“I am just looking for an insight into what tangible steps are going to be taken to bring that waiting list down in terms of hotel accommodation.”
Cardiff Council said that in August, 110 households moved into temporary accommodation, with 75 leaving it.
From July to September, the local authority carried out 1,183 assessments.
Further highlighting the task that the council is up against, Cllr Thorne said that more than 2,100 landlords have left the rental market in Cardiff, according to Rent Smart Wales statistics.
Cllr Thorne added: “Clearly with the number of people who have been served notices, there is likely to be even more landlords leaving.
“Unless [the] government changes and adjusts the local housing allowance, then there is very little we can do.”
The council can sometimes pay rent arrears off if tenants are being threatened with eviction, but Cllr Thorne told Cllr Taylor that the local authority doesn’t currently have the answers to the issue of bringing down waiting lists for temporary accommodation.
She said: “Being in hotel accommodation, it is the worst thing ever and we are doing as much as we can.
“I really wish I could say to you that there is a light at the end of the tunnel, but I actually know that the situation is going to get worse.
“The home office is speeding up decisions on asylum claims… and that has started to happen and will increase and particularly until December this year.
“Over the next month or so, that situation is likely to get worse not better and we are doing all that we can to to make sure that everybody has somewhere to go even if it is hotel accommodation.”
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