Posted on: Friday 17 January 2020
The number of rough sleepers in Torfaen and across Wales has been increasing steadily in recent years.
Last week, Torfaen council held an extraordinary council meeting to update councillors on the steps being taken to tackle homelessness and rough sleeping in Torfaen.
This winter the council’s response will be supported by creating a pop-up night shelter, supported by a rota of volunteers from across Torfaen and Cornerstone, who deliver the council’s rough sleeper outreach project.
The council are also working with new private landlords and social landlords to identify additional temporary accommodation to meet the needs of residents.
During 2018/19, the Torfaen Housing Solutions Service received over 900 enquiries, working with 435 households who were at the immediate risk of homelessness and a further 410 households that were actually homeless. This support resulted in providing over 10,000 nights of temporary accommodation.
Last year the council also amended its adverse weather policy, offering temporary accommodation to verified rough sleepers whenever overnight temperatures are projected to drop below zero.
Andrew Clarke from Cornerstone said: ‘If the council is notified of a rough sleeper, Cornerstone will undertake a personal welfare check, offer advice and information and provide some basic provisions to try and resolve their situation.
‘However, solutions often require a multi-agency response to wider problems of substance misuse, general health and mental wellbeing and financial issues.’
Executive Member for Housing and Adult Services, Cllr David Daniels said: ‘Rough sleeping is the very visible side of homelessness, plus there are a significant number of hidden homeless or Sofa Surfers who we are dealing with regularly through open daily surgeries and the housing solutions service.
‘Thankfully, even though the council has seen a big increase in the number of households seeking support, the number of rough sleepers in Torfaen remains in single figures.
‘Fortunately, this year has been mild, but there is still time for a cold snap, so our preparations are gearing up to provide support when it is most needed.’
The Leader of Torfaen Council, Cllr Anthony Hunt, said: ‘Addressing rough sleeping takes time and trust and providing support is often challenging due to the complex lifestyles that frequently contribute to sleeping rough. Although it’s a quick fix, long term change requires more than a temporary roof over someone’s head.’
‘If your housing situation is urgent due to sleeping rough or being threatened with eviction, call 01495 742303, email firstname.lastname@example.org or report using the streetlink app at or visit www.streetlink.org.uk to report.’
A review of temporary accommodation is currently being undertaken and private landlords with suitable properties that could be used for temporary accommodation can call 01495 742303 or email email@example.com for information.
For further information on homelessness support visit: https://www.torfaen.gov.uk/en/Housing/Homelessness-adviceandsupport/Homelessness.aspx