Flintshire County Council has reported a 'substantial' increase in the number of homeless people in the area over the past 12 months

The council’s Housing and Prevention Service has seen a significant increase in the number of people contacting the service for help over the past year.

The cost-of-living crisis, difficult housing market conditions and lack of affordable housing are factors placing an unprecedented demand on services and creating significant budget challenges.

The Housing and Prevention Service aim to prevent homelessness by providing interventions and support, taking a proactive approach in providing emergency housing and support to people where prevention work is unsuccessful, or there is no opportunity to prevent someone from becoming homeless.  

Despite work undertaken by the council and its partners to prevent homelessness, they say the demand for emergency housing is increasing and placing a huge strain on resources. 

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Chief Officer for Housing and Communities, Vicky Clark said: “The council and its housing partners provide social housing for people in Flintshire. There is a significant increase in demand, and we do not have enough homes to meet the needs of people in our communities, and those at risk of homelessness.

"Startlingly a recent national report by the Bevan Foundation looking at affordability of housing across Wales found that only 59 private rental homes were available in Flintshire during February 2023, none of which were charging rent that would be affordable for people solely reliant on universal credit or housing benefits.  

"Despite the significant demand on our services, we remain committed to increasing the supply of affordable housing to meet the needs of those who are homeless and to meet the needs of everyone who has difficulties with their housing situation, and we are working closely with our housing partners on ambitious plans to build more homes - but of course this takes time.”

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Councillor Sean Bibby, cabinet member for housing and regeneration, added: “When people are homeless or at risk of homelessness, we will ensure housing support is offered as well as any other support needs identified.  

"One person or one family experiencing homelessness is one too many, and it is extremely concerning that the number of people experiencing homelessness is growing.  That said, this issue is not unique to Flintshire, the UK is facing a housing crisis.  

"The Housing and Prevention Service in Flintshire offer an excellent service 24/7 to help avoid people becoming homeless, but the challenge is significant and there is often little or no chance of preventing homelessness for some people.

"It is a challenging role for officers, the tools available to us to prevent homelessness are wide-ranging and include mediation, tenancy support, budgeting advice, rent rescue packages, rent top-ups, and family support.

"Of course this comes at a significant cost, but this is the right thing to do, and we are committed to supporting people who need our help”.