Why the cost of providing a roof over the head of the homeless has more than tripled

Swansea Council spent more than £4,000 a night putting homeless people and people at risk of homelessness into bed and breakfast accommodation last year.

Spending of £1.5million in 2020-21 more than tripled the figure of £472,658 in 2019-20, reflecting a multi-pronged approach to giving people a roof over their heads during the Covid pandemic.

The authority has clawed back much of the money from the Welsh Government, but this Covid hardship funding for the councils ends on March 31.

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One person stayed in a bed and breakfast in Swansea for 545 nights but this was, according to the council, an exceptional case.

The figures provided were in response to a freedom of information request from the Local Democracy Reporting Service, which asked for bed and breakfast, bed and breakfast and hotel costs for 2019-20, 2020-21 and the six first months of 2021-22.

The council said figures were not yet available for the first six months of 2021-22, but then revealed that the highest cost of hosting an individual or family across all types temporary accommodation in 2019-20 and 2020-21 was £. 27,250.

The longest stay for a family in B&Bs, B&Bs and hotel rooms was 14 nights.

There were 103 people housed in such accommodation in Swansea, as of November 2021.

Temporary accommodation costs for those in need are also expected to be higher in 2021-22 than in the past.

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A spokesperson for the council said the authority was committed to providing homeless people with accommodation and guesthouses were playing an important role.

“This is just a starting point and in the vast majority of cases those who have needed a bed and breakfast quickly find suitable permanent accommodation with support tailored to their needs,” he said. -he declares.

The council has set up two housing projects that support people with complex needs while providing them with a roof over their heads.

The spokesperson added: “The demand for bed and breakfasts reflects the growing need for services during the pandemic, particularly for people suffering from mental health issues, addictions, an increase in domestic violence and relationship breakdowns and, of course, the inevitable economic impacts that many individuals and families face.”

Municipalities recover part of their expenses related to homelessness via the housing allowance.

In 2019-20 Swansea Council recovered £161,293 of its £472,658 outlay this way.

In 2020-21 he recouped £341,186 of his £1.5million outlay through housing benefit – and also received £800,725 from the Welsh government.

This meant the net cost to authority was £360,693, not a huge difference from £311,365 in 2019-20.

The Welsh Government has confirmed the Local Authority Hardship Fund ends next month, but said it had allocated more than £190m to prevent homelessness and support housing in the Wales in its draft budget for 2022-23 – plus £310m for social housing.

A spokeswoman said its housing strategy for people in need had helped 17,000 people since the start of the pandemic.

She added: “We have made £10m available to local authorities for costs they may have previously claimed from the hardship fund, as we move towards a rapid rehousing approach.”

The Wallich, a homeless and homeless charity which operates in Swansea, said there were around 15-25 homeless people in the town before the pandemic.

The situation now, he said, was much better, but the numbers were going up. He is currently helping about 10 people, but said many more are couch surfing.

One of its services in Swansea is the 24-bed Ty Tom Jones hostel on Alexandra Road, which it provides in conjunction with the council and charity Caer Las.

The Walllich said temporary housing had its place, but added that the lack of affordable housing was creating a bottleneck further down the line.

“We rely heavily on helping people in privately rented properties, which we know are skyrocketing in price,” a spokesperson for the charity said.

“Gathering the deposit and the first month’s rent has become more difficult.

“We would like to see the development of affordable housing take precedence over the development of high-end exclusive properties and high-end student accommodation.”

Providing mental health and other forms of support, he added, remains essential.

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