copyright Lisa Baker 2021

Bridgend County Borough Council has received extra funding to support homeless people.

A report presented to the council’s Cabinet at its meeting on Tuesday 6 April said the local authority is set to receive an extra £1.88m in its allocation of the Housing Support Grant from Welsh Government for 2021-22, compared to 2020-21. This year’s allocation is £7.8m.

The grant supports activity which prevents people from becoming homeless, stabilises their housing situation, or helps potentially homeless people to find and keep accommodation. The increase in funding for this year is to help achieve the goal of ending homelessness in Wales.

Some of the council’s priorities for 2021-22 are to improve the accessibility and availability of support and accommodation options for all service users; tackle the need to sleep rough; prioritise preventative services; and work with regional partners across Cwm Taf Morgannwg.

The local authority has also been working to safeguard vulnerable people throughout the Covid-19 pandemic by providing temporary accommodation.

There has been high demand for homelessness services during this time – between 1 January and 31 December 2020, Bridgend County Borough Council received 1,505 applications. While support enabled some of these cases to be resolved without further action, 1,055 (70%) were provided with temporary accommodation.

As of 21 March 2021, the council was temporarily accommodating 196 households (78% of which were single person households), a 165% increase compared to 23 March 2020 when there were 74 households.

Cabinet agreed to enter into a contract with Pobl to continue offering its low-level support accommodation in the Maesteg area until December 31, 2024. Without continued funding, vulnerable service users would be made homeless.

It also agreed to enter into negotiations with partner organisations to discuss an uplift of up to a maximum of 5% in the contract value of all existing Housing Support Grant-funded contracts that the council has with third sector housing-related support providers, effective from 1 April 2021, on the basis that it results in improved terms and conditions for the workforce.