Powys Council Cabinet approves plan to help the homeless

August 2023 | Featured, Rural policy, Rural poverty

Powys Council Cabinet have approved a plan to help the homeless, by ensuring they receive secure accommodation as soon as possible.

The name of the campaign is the Powys Rapid Rehousing Transition Plan and the aim is for the council, housing associations and others to co-operate up to 2028 to try and stop homelessness. As part of the plan there are many concrete proposals for provision including:

  • Two 24-hour triage centres, where individuals will be able to receive assistance and an assessment of their needs. These centres will also be able to provide safe temporary accommodation for up to a week to those who need it.
  • To plans to provide self-contained homes to individuals with complex needs and cannot face living independently in the community straight away.
  • Modular homes in order to provide more temporary accommodation spaces.

There are also changes to the ‘Homes in Powys’ Allocation Policy, that changes policy for social housing including:

  • People who were previously placed in temporary accomodation as a result of being homeless will be offered the opportunity to make those homes permanent ones, if they are suitable, meaning that those housed will not have to move again.
  • There is also a provision in the plan that states that an individual’s service in the British Armed Forces will be considered as a factor when they are assessed. The time spent in the armed forces will count as if they had been living in Powys when assessing priority for affordable homes.

Matthew Dorrance, Deputy Leader and Portfolio Holder for a Fairer Powys said:

‘In just over three years we have seen the number of households requesting affordable housing more than double, the number of homeless households has increased by more than a third, and the number of households placed in temporary accommodation – including bed and breakfasts – has almost quadrupled.’

‘Our plan will assume that everyone is ‘housing ready’ with the right support, make sure people spend as little time as possible in temporary accommodation; and that when they do need temporary accommodation, it is of a high standard. It will also help people access the right home in the right place for them and sets out that for most this will be an ‘independent, mainstream home’, but that others may choose supported accommodation.’

‘It should also help us to cut costs over time, by reducing the need to use bed and breakfast providers for temporary accommodation, which can prove to be very costly.’

Often homelessness in rural Wales is a hidden matter with limited visibility in the media. Unique factors to rural Wales make getting to grips with the problem a difficult one, and often local authorities face problems in relation to lack of resources, low population and building density and geographic distance between different areas that make providing services difficult. Powys Council’s plan is part of a wider campaign by the Welsh Government that is attempting to ensure that homelessness is something rare, short lived and not repeated. You can find out more information about the plans of the Welsh Government, and the guidance they have provided local authorities here.

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