OVER 280 homeless people have been supported by Carmarthenshire County Council since the Covid-19 pandemic hit the UK.
The council took immediate action to support people in Carmarthenshire living rough, sofa surfing, prison leavers or people at risk of losing their home due to domestic violence, ensuring that they had a roof over their head as the country went into lockdown.
A comprehensive support package was rolled out with officers working around the clock to ensure those threatened with or determined homeless were accommodated.
Since lockdown, the council has provided more emergency accommodation than ever to meet demand and delivered food parcels to those it has been accommodating.
Hub facilities have been set up so that homeless people, which has almost doubled since the pandemic, can meet with support workers in a friendly environment.
More support services have also been rolled out to support people with drugs and alcohol issues, including finding alternative accommodation for people and helping them access benefits.
One family, who have moved into a permanent council home after losing their home and business, said: “It was a very stressful time especially with the coronavirus around and we were mentally in a bad way. We had a young son to look after and didn’t know what we were going to live or how we would cope. We got in touch with the council and they were so supportive and dealt with everything smoothly and quickly. I can’t thank them enough as this was one of the worst moments of our lives. We are now happily settled in two bedroomed home and so thankful.”
Officers continue to support homeless and are working on plans to set up a bespoke mental health service for people who are struggling.
The council is also increasing its housing options for single people.
The council’s executive board member for housing, Cllr Linda Davies Evans, said:
“Once the country went into lockdown our officers worked around the clock and are still doing so to ensure that people who have nowhere to go are accommodated. We have already supported many of these people from temporary or emergency accommodation into permanent accommodation, including helping with removal costs and basic goods so they can set up home. We are also continuing to provide accommodation for single homeless people and providing grants to private landlords and owners of empty properties so that they can be brought up to standard for renting. Please remember, if you are concerned you could become homeless or have any other housing issues then call us. It is important that you seek advice as quickly as possible. The sooner you ask for help the better as we may be able to prevent you from becoming homeless.”
People don’t have to be sleeping rough to be homeless or in danger of becoming homeless, they could be:
- at risk of violence or abuse in your home
- living in poor conditions
- unable to afford your mortgage or rent payments
- sofa surfing or staying temporarily at the home of family or friends
- living somewhere you have no legal right to stay e.g. in a squat
- living somewhere that is no longer suitable for you because of illness or disability
Getting help at an early stage can stop a housing problem becoming a crisis. Anyone concerned of becoming homeless can call 01554 899389 during office hours (8.45 am – 5 pm, Monday – Thursday. Friday 8.45 am – 4.30 pm) outside of office hours call Delta Wellbeing on 0300 333 2222.