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Partnership approach to housing hundreds of people during pandemic

copyright Lisa Baker 2021

Bridgend County Borough Council is continuing to work closely with its partners to provide temporary accommodation and support for people in housing need.

Since the start of the coronavirus pandemic, more than 1,200 people have been given temporary accommodation in the county borough.

From 1 April 2020 to 31 March 2021, the local authority received 1,612 applications from people in housing need – an increase of 31 per cent from the same period the year before with almost three quarters of the applications coming from single person households.

While not all of those who applied for help required emergency accommodation, the council provided temporary accommodation for 818 people, from 615 different households.

As of 11 July 2021, the local authority is providing temporary accommodation for 312 people from 185 households, an increase of 150 per cent compared to the 74 households in temporary accommodation on 23 March 2020.

The Cabinet Member for Future Generations and Wellbeing Cllr Dhanisha Patel said: “As is the case across Wales, the demand on housing services continues to be significant

“Throughout the pandemic, we have worked with local partners, including the tourism sector when necessary, to take on additional accommodation to meet demands and ensure people are as safe as possible. This has also helped to support the local economy during challenging times.

“Support has been offered to everyone provided with temporary housing, including the help to secure long term, permanent accommodation and support to address any issues preventing them from maintaining that tenancy, for example, independent living skills.                

“People are in housing need for a variety of reasons whether that involves the threat of losing their accommodation, family breakdown or relationship breakdown, for example.

“We continue to prioritise preventative solutions to avoid people becoming homeless and the need to be placed in temporary accommodation.  A number of solutions are looked at during the assessment process and as such I’d encourage anyone threatened with homelessness to present as soon as possible to ensure that all options are considered.

“Rough sleeper numbers have been very low throughout the pandemic due to the increase in provision of temporary accommodation. We continue to take a proactive approach with support offered to anyone who is threatened with, or imminently, homeless.

“We have worked closely with our local communities as well as with a number of partners including the police, mental health and substance misuse services to respond to any concerns that may have arisen and to provide reassurance to communities that we listen and respond to any concerns.

“Homelessness can happen to anyone if their circumstances, often financial circumstances, change suddenly and our housing, and other services, can be there to provide support during this time.”

Welsh Government has helped to fund the additional costs of temporary accommodation and support since the pandemic began with the intention that people are then supported to secure long-term accommodation.

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