By Dominic Williams | News Editor
Cardiff Council’s ‘No Going Back’ approach to the delivery of homelessness services in the city will take another stride forward next week if plans to buy a new facility are agreed.
At its next meeting on Thursday, February 25, Cabinet will consider a proposal to purchase the YHA hostel on East Tyndall Street, accommodation the Council has been using since last Spring when extra spaces were needed to keep clients safe during the pandemic.
For example, the Cardiff Rough sleeper Strategy from 2017-2020 was developed in response to the pressing issue of rough sleeping in Cardiff. in line with the rest of Wales, has experienced an upward trend in rough sleeping in recent years. Since the introduction of the Strategy in 2017, numbers of rough sleepers in Cardiff have stabilised but remain an issue.
Not only this, but the impact of welfare reform including the implementation to Universal Credit, along with inwork poverty and zero hour contracts are leading to more people experiencing financial difficulties in Cardiff. Alongside the further difficulties that COVID-19 has had financially on people, Cardiff’s ‘No Going Back’ approach is more important than ever.
In an increasing number of cases this is impacting on their ability to pay their rent. Benefit changes may continue to impact on homeless services particularly as benefits become more conditional and complex. For the period April 2015 to March 2018 Cardiff Council has seen a 762% increase in the number of clients experiencing difficulties with paying their rent or mortgage. The number of cases rose from 82 in 2015/16 to 707 in 2017/18.
However more people than ever before are engaging with life-changing support services, such as therapeutic counselling, mental health support and substance misuse treatment.
The YHA hostel provided 80 of the 182 additional units of supported accommodation that were established across a number of sites to address homelessness during the health crisis, and its good quality accommodation and on-site support services have played an integral role in achieving real change in vulnerable people’s lives.
Permanently acquiring the 80 bed hostel will ensure the continuity of accommodation and support for single homeless people, and together with other improved provision and changes to the way services are delivered, will further support the Council’s new vision for homelessness services.