Consultation on draft housing and homelessness strategy given go ahead by BCBC Cabinet

Bridgend County Borough Council’s Cabinet has approved the launch of a public consultation on a draft four-year plan to tackle the national housing and homelessness crisis in the county borough.

The council’s draft ‘Housing Support Programme 2022-2026’ strategy identifies key priorities for the council and its partners, in the delivery of homelessness prevention and other housing related support services. These priorities have been developed following a substantial review of these services and in consultation with partner organisations and key stakeholders.

As the housing authority for Bridgend County Borough, the council is legally required to have a homelessness strategy. While there is no legal need for a housing strategy, there is a strong correlation between housing, homelessness, and rough sleeping.

According to a report presented to the Council’s Cabinet, figures provided showed that over the last four years, homelessness applications have increased by 25 per cent.

In 2020/21, (the first year of the pandemic), the council saw a record number of people presenting as homeless, with 1,612 applications received in that year alone.

Added to this, the number of temporary accommodation placements has increased by a massive 251 per cent, since 2019.

There are currently around 485 people, from 260 households in temporary accommodation (as of end of June 2023). With the number of households on the common housing register increasing by 212 per cent between March 2020 and February 2023.

And as of July 2023, there are 2,629 households on the common housing register, with almost 60 per cent of applicants waiting for a one-bedroom property.

Cllr Rhys Goode, Cabinet Member for Housing, Planning and Regeneration, said: “These figures make for stark reading, and combined with the rapidly rising cost of living means we need to find joined up answers to tackle the housing crisis in what is already a challenging financial climate for the authority. Our draft strategy will help us work more effectively towards meeting these challenges. With the needs of households becoming more complex and time critical, the demand for affordable housing and support services is unprecedented.

“The draft strategy sets out how we will collaborate with our partners and third sector services to ensure homelessness is rare, brief and unrepeated. The scale of the challenge ahead should not be underestimated. However, with the continued commitment to our strategic priorities and with the development of the new ‘Rapid Rehousing’ approach to homelessness we hope to make a real change within our community.”

A 12-week public consultation will go live shortly, and all members of the community are encouraged to participate, with more details to follow.

In the meantime, anyone who is threatened with an eviction notice is urged to notify the council as soon as possible, to ensure early intervention, and a speedy solution is provided.

Visit the homelessness advice and prevention page on our website for further advice or call us on 01656 643643.