Record number of people seeking council’s help over housing
Ted Peskett Local Democracy Reporter
A hotel could be used to house homeless people for another year, with one council blaming the lack of available homes due to private landlords exiting the market.
The news about the Holiday Inn Express, next to Cardiff Airport in Rhoose, was shared with members of Vale of Glamorgan Council’s housing scrutiny committee at a meeting on Wednesday, February 7.
The council’s operational manager for public housing services, Nick Jones, told scrutiny committee members that the council has been successful in moving people on from temporary accommodation, but there are still “record numbers of people” seeking help with housing.
When the council took over operations at the Holiday Inn Express, it said the move was a temporary measure.
Mr Jones said: “We do need that accommodation in the short term. We are discussing… block booking for the next financial year. Hopefully we will be able to reach an agreement with the hotel regarding that.”
Councillor William Hennessy, asked the council officer how long people are staying at the hotel on average and the proportion of families to single people at the site.
Mr Jones said the amount of time people spend at the hotel “does differ quite markedly between single people and families”.
He added: “[There is a] smaller number of families accommodated at the moment… [they] will typically move on between three to five months.
“[With] single people it is a lot longer… single people can be waiting 16 months or more for accommodation.
“If we had 75 rooms being used at the hotel, there would probably be six to eight families… the remainder being single people.”
Mr Jones said the council successfully moved on more than 160 people from the hotel over the last 12 months.
However, he added the level of move on to permanent accommodation is being offset by the high levels of people presenting as homeless.
A council report states 340 temporary accommodation units are in use across the county, including 80 hotel rooms, which represents a 195% increase in temporary accommodation use from the pre-pandemic period.
The report also states there are more than 6,200 people on the council housing waiting list in the Vale, with 19% of those in the highest need categories, including people fleeing domestic abuse, homeless people in temporary accommodation and people with a life-threatening or life-limiting medical condition.
Mr Jones said: “It is increasingly difficult to prevent people from becoming homeless.”
Some of the issues pushing people in the Vale of Glamorgan to homelessness include a shortage of homes and increasing rents.
Private landlords leaving market
Another issue highlighted by Mr Jones at Wednesday’s meeting is that many private landlords are deciding to leave the market and sell their properties.
Grants and money from slippage has made millions of pounds available to the council for house building and over the next 10 years, the local authority’s programme is expected to deliver 939 homes.
Vale of Glamorgan Council is also looking to purchase existing properties that can be put to use as temporary accommodation, including former MOD properties which are “surplus to requirements” and former council homes.
The former Olive Lodge bed and breakfast on Port Road East, Barry has been purchased for use as temporary accommodation and work is due to start on that imminently.
Scrutiny committee members also heard how the former Eagleswell Primary School site in Llantwit Major is nearing completion. Mr Jones said it is expected to be completed in “the next few months”.
The former school is being turned into a temporary accommodation site, made up of 90 units, for Ukrainian refugees.
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