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Plaid Cymru calls for urgent action to tackle homelessness crisis

28 Jul 2023 3 minute read
Plaid Cymru’s spokesperson for Housing, Mabon ap Gwynfor

Plaid Cymru is pressing the Welsh Government to increase housing support grants as a matter of urgency, and to build temporary housing on disused land as the number of people living in temporary accommodation in Wales tops 10,000.

The latest figures released yesterday (27 July) reveal that in May 10,872 individuals were in temporary accommodation, 350 more than the previous month, despite 660 people being moved into long-term accommodation.

This is now over three times what it was in August 2020, at the height of Covid.

The latest figures also show that 3,158 dependent children aged under 16 are in temporary accommodation, almost 100 more than the previous month.

Increase spending

Responding to the figures, Plaid Cymru’s spokesperson for Housing, Mabon ap Gwynfor MS, has called on the government to increase spending on its anti-homelessness strategy, and to accelerate its plans to build housing.

“The housing pressures in Wales continue to escalate, with no end in sight.” he said

“It continues to be a cause for concern that so many people are in temporary accommodation, and particularly that so many children are in this situation. These families and individuals need the security of affordable, long-term housing.

“The Housing Support Grant plays a key role in keeping people in their homes, and that that services are in place to support people and direct those facing homelessness. It is essential that the Welsh Government look at where and how this can be expanded and increased, in order to keep more people in long-term accommodation.

“Another cause for concern is the reports that councils are struggling to get experienced homelessness organizations to bid for tenders for vital support services. The reason I’m hearing is that there is not enough money available to provide a decent level of service. Indeed, I understand that experienced staff members of homelessness charities are seeking alternative employment because wages cannot cover their own rents.

This is because the sector has not seen a real terms uplift in their funding from the Welsh Government for over ten years. It’s no wonder that the sector is struggling. If we are to mitigate this homelessness crisis, then we need to see more money pumped into the homelessness support grant as a matter of urgency.

“The Welsh Government’s whole anti-homelessness strategy urgently needs more money in order to tackle this housing crisis and ease the vast pressures on temporary accommodation.

“As things stand, there seems to be no let-up, and as things get harder for people to afford a home, the best safeguard is more long-term, affordable social homes. Where possible, the rollout of more low carbon social homes must be rapidly accelerated.

“They also need to look at best practice elsewhere. In Vienna they are using disused land to build temporary high-quality accommodation in a very short space of time. The accommodation reaches passive House standards and is made available to those most at need before they move on.

“The Welsh Government must look to work with Local Authorities and Modular Build Companies to develop a similar short term strategy here or accept that those in inadequate temporary accommodation will continue to increase with all the detrimental effects that this entails.”

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