ROUGH sleepers, vulnerable young people looking for a place to live and those facing the threat of losing a roof over their heads are set to benefit from a new multi-million-pound plan to tackle homelessness.
As Swansea emerges from the pandemic its long-standing ‘always a bed’ pledge for rough sleepers is set to continue under new proposals which will be boosted this year by £4.4m of extra Welsh Government funding.
Cabinet has agreed an action plan aiming to rapidly rehouse rough sleepers and others who’ve lost their homes, provide more support for young people struggling to find a place to live and prevent homelessness during the cost of living crisis.
Andrea Lewis, Cabinet Member for Service Transformation, said that during the pandemic the council stood side-by-side with vulnerable people to make sure there was always a place for them to stay.
“We were there for the homeless and most vulnerable in our communities through the pandemic and we will be there for families, the vulnerable and rough sleepers during a winter of the cost of living crisis.
“During the pandemic we helped more than 1,000 people find a permanent place to live and helped thousands more at risk of losing their homes with support and advice.
“Now as the cost of living crisis begins to bite and some face the risk of choosing between paying their rent or mortgage and putting food on the table, we will ensure that the appropriate support is in place for those that need it.”
The council’s new four-year housing support programme strategy has been developed with a range of organisations and groups including charities, public sector organisations and those affected by homelessness directly.
The housing service has recently purchased factory-built pods which has added to its temporary accommodation options.
Also part of the strategy is the council’s More Homes initiative which aims to build a generation of 1,000 affordable-to-rent, low-energy council homes over the current decade.
On top of that is the new rapid rehousing programme, a Welsh Government-supported initiative that aims to ensure homeless people get the right support at the right time and in the right way so a secure home becomes their foundation for a brighter future.
Cllr Louise Gibbard, Cabinet Member for Care Services, said:
“We ensured families, young people, those with mental health problems and rough sleepers had a say in the strategy. The actions we are taking respond to their needs directly.
“There is a lot of work to do and in the cost of living crisis we expect demand for our homelessness services to rise. But our overall ambition is that homelessness should be rare, brief and unrepeated.
“Creating this strategy was one of the policy commitments made as a council in July that we aimed to deliver within 100 days.”
The strategy approved by Cabinet will cover the next four years and features nine priorities, ranging from strengthening homelessness prevention services, provide rapid-rehousing from temporary accommodation into permanent homes and joint working with other agencies to support those who’ve been forced out due to domestic abuse, family breakdown or mental health problems.
Cllr Gibbard added:
“The work done by many people to inform this strategy reinforced the view that homelessness is complex, can happen to anyone and can be challenging to resolve.
“But it’s more vital than ever we support the most vulnerable in our communities to have a warm, safe and affordable home.”