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New strategy to prevent homelessness

A new strategy has been developed to help prevent homelessness in Bridgend County Borough.

With 18 per cent more people presenting themselves as homeless during the last three years, Bridgend County Borough Council aims to work even more closely with partner organisations and landlords to help prevent homelessness, make it easier for people threatened with homelessness to access support services, and ensure that there is sufficient accommodation available for individuals and families in need.

Following the completion of a homelessness review, Cabinet Members from the local authority have agreed to submit a draft four-year strategy to Welsh Government for comment and also invite local residents to share their views on it via a public consultation this spring.

This time of year makes you think even more about how tough life must be for people who find themselves living on the street. We must continue to do everything we can to prevent someone from being in this situation. We already work with our partners including The Wallich, The Zone and Gwalia to provide rough sleepers with a warm, safe place to sleep each night as well as drop-in centres during the day where they can access a range of support to help get them back into full-time accommodation.

However, there are often misconceptions about homelessness. It is not always about rough sleeping and not just about the availability of accommodation.

There are often complex reasons for people becoming and remaining homeless. Many people are unable to sustain accommodation because of issues such as mental illness or substance misuse issues. Solutions therefore need to be varied and tailored to individual needs, so we recently recruited a mental health outreach worker to work with people who need specific support.

Councillor Dhanisha Patel, Cabinet Member for Wellbeing and Future Generations

There was an 18 per cent increase in the number of Bridgend County Borough households presenting as being threatened with homelessness between 2015/16 and 2017/18. Of those presenting, 68 per cent were single people and 59 per cent were aged 34 and under.

The greatest reason for homelessness was ‘loss of rented or tied accommodation’ (19 per cent) while 13 per cent said that they were homeless because their parents were no longer able or willing to accommodate them.

Private rented housing and social rented housing were the most used methods for relieving homelessness, and 307 households were helped by being placed into temporary accommodation during 2017/18. Two thirds of temporary accommodation was provided by a hostel operated by Bridgend County Borough Council.

Councillor Patel added: “Homelessness also increases pressure on public services including health, police, education and social services. This is why it is imperative for public services to work together to make tackling homelessness a priority.

“Housing and support services need to be easily accessible, readily available and designed around the needs of the people who use them. We must improve the way that we work in partnership so that people can be empowered to take steps to resolve their housing issues and retain control of their lives.”

If anyone is concerned about a rough sleeper, they can alert the local authority by using the Street Link app which is available on the Street Link website. It’s a quick and easy way of ensuring that someone can get access to the help they need.

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