MORE and more single people facing homelessness are being provided with a roof over their head in Carmarthenshire.
Councils in Wales have to accommodate all at-risk homeless single people, including prison leavers, following a change in the law which was linked to the coronavirus pandemic.
A report before Carmarthenshire Council’s executive board said this had created a significant demand for temporary accommodation and homelessness services.
The authority normally provides temporary and emergency accommodation for around 70 households but now deals with almost double that, most of whom are single people.
Three hotels and bed and breakfasts are part of the temporary accommodation mix.
A 28-year-old woman whose relationship with her sister – with whom she was living – deteriorated during the lockdown stayed in a bed and breakfast for weeks before being provided with a flat.
The woman said she could not live in the shared house with her sister and her sister’s partner any longer and contacted the council for help after staying on a friend’s sofa for a night.
The woman, who has a job, said she was very grateful.
“Homelessness can happen to anyone at any time, but there is help out there,” she said.
Cllr Linda Evans, who has the housing portfolio, said more older people were also presenting themselves as homeless, perhaps due to a relationship breakdown.
“Everyone’s needs are different,” she said.
The last few months, said Cllr Evans, had been “very challenging” – and she thanked housing staff for their efforts.
To date the Welsh Government has provided £10 million to councils to provide extra homelessness services, with a further £20 million being made available for capital as well as revenue costs.
The executive board has approved a plan which will form the basis of a bid for a £1.4 million share of the £20 million. It includes creating nearly 80 additional units of accommodation, and extra support for nearly 200 people.
Council chiefs want to ensure that people provided with accommodation are given help to maintain tenancies and with other issues, such as mental health and finances. This work is ongoing, as is employing security at venues where there is a concentration of people being supported.
The council intends to phase out the hotel and bed and breakfast accommodation which is currently being used.
Cllr Glynog Davies said he was aware of a young family staying with friends who had been provided with a house by the council.
“The systems are working,” he said.
Council Leader Emlyn Dole said: “This needs to be tackled permanently – not just for a pandemic.”