HOMELESSNESS and rough sleeping in Swansea are being dramatically reduced thanks to ongoing efforts by Swansea Council and partner organisations.
More individuals and families at risk of becoming homeless are being supported than ever while rough sleeping is at its lowest level on record.
Swansea Council has pledged that anyone who finds themselves at risk of sleeping rough has a place to sleep if they want it.
Wrap-around services to prevent people from returning to living rough continue to be expanded and more money is being invested in suitable temporary accommodation.
A progress report on Swansea’s Homelessness Strategy has been presented to the full council.
It says despite a significant increase in demand for homelessness services more people than ever are being supported and prevented from becoming homeless.
Achievements so far include:
· Support for rough sleepers has been extended to weekends meaning provision is now available seven days a week;
· The Council has successfully bid for £5.4m from the Welsh Government to increase the amount of one bed, permanent, affordable, accommodation and up to 80 units will be ready this year;
· A Young Person’s Housing First project has been established with 10 units of accommodation providing permanent accommodation and intensive support for young people with complex needs;
· New temporary supported accommodation has been established at Ty Tom Jones in partnership with Pobl, The Wallich and Goleudy with funding from the Welsh Government to provide an additional 20 units of temporary accommodation for single people during the pandemic;
· Increase in the number of emergency bed spaces within a number of supported housing projects, including provision for couples;
· The council has met its target to ensure that B&B accommodation is only used for families in an emergency and that the target for an average of 5 days or less has been achieved; and
· Establishment of the “Swansea Together” Food Provision Service, a collaboration of voluntary organisations (led by Matt’s Café and Zak’s Place) to ensure that everybody in B&B and other forms of temporary accommodation receives a substantial meal seven days a week during the pandemic.
Cllr Andrea Lewis, Swansea Council’s Cabinet Member for Cabinet Member for Homes, Energy and Service Transformation and Joint Deputy Leader, said:
“When we adopted this strategy in 2018 no one could have foreseen the pandemic of the last 12 months but our work prior to the arrival of Covid-19 has helped our response.
“During the pandemic demand for services has remained high, particularly with regard to mental health issues, substance misuse, a rise in domestic abuse and relationship breakdowns, and of course the inevitable economic impacts facing many individuals and families.
“I am proud of this council’s and our partners’ response as between April 2020 and December 2020 we found accommodation for 300 additional people while at the same time we worked with many other individuals and families to ensure they were not put at risk of homelessness.
“We are determined to ensure that as we emerge from the pandemic there is not a return to rough sleeping and I am confident that under our homelessness strategy we will continue to work with our partners to achieve this.”