Homelessness will rise after March, warns Cardiff Council
Lynda Thorne, Council Cabinet Member for Housing and Communities, says warm weather, evictions and changes to the asylum application system will lead to an increase in the number of rough sleepers.
Spring is upon us and many are looking forward to the warm weather but Cardiff Council is concerned that it will lead to a rise in the number of rough sleepers across Cardiff.
“While the weather is cold its easier to keep people indoors and keep them occupied but when the nice weather comes and the shops open that might well change”
On top of this Lynda Says that changes in the the way decisions are made on whether asylum seekers can stay in the UK will also increase the strain as once someone seeking asylum is allowed to stay the Home Office will no longer house them.
“From March they will be making decisions on 20 per week. As is we’ve only got 5 spaces in hostels at the moment so you can imagine the impact of 20 people every week being given leave to remain”
But to top it off there are likely to be even more people made homeless in March as Lynda said.
“there’s another issue on the horizon as well as the Welsh Government made the decision to ban evictions so once that decision changes there will be people who were probably in rent arrears or other issues which mean evictions will also go up”
The council is taking action to house the increase in rough sleepers. In a cabinet meeting yesterday councillors discussed plans to buy the YHA Hostel on East Tyndall Street. The hostel will bethe first of its kind owned by owned by the council and aims to provide individual 24/7 en-suite apartments and food to rough sleepers. Nurses, therapists and psychologists will also be on hand to help.
Lynda says the hostel, which has been run by the council since the start of the pandemic, has been successful so far having bough the total number down from 112 to 5 rough sleepers as of last week.
“By working with individuals we can help them to move on into normal life and we’ve had a number of big successes come from it as well.”
There are also plans to build more assessment centres and emergency shelters for Cardiff’s rough sleepers but Lynda says this still won’t be enough to deal with the increase.
“Maybe in 18 months to 2 years time we will be in a better situation but with things on the horizon like decisions on asylum seekers and like the lifting of the ban for evictions all of that will have an effect on what we’re doing”