Plaid demand apology for homeless statement

Also demands to reinstate cuts to homelessness budget

Plaid Cymru the Party of Wales have hit back at Denbighshire County Council’s ruling cabinet’s statement following the furore about homeless people in Rhyl.

Speaking on behalf of the Plaid Cymru group, Group Leader Cllr Arwel Roberts said: “The Cabinet Member should apologise for the comments saying that people staying in temporary accommodation on the Rhyl Seafront might have a ‘potential negative impact on the tourist and regeneration programmes for the town’. It was unacceptable and she should apologise to those families and individuals.

“To make matters worse, this administration cut £74,000 from the Council’s homeless budget in this year’s budget. This cut was supported by all the parties except for Plaid Cymru.

“Actions have consequences, and the consequence of this budget cut is that the Homelessness Prevention Team, who do a fantastic job in very difficult circumstances, have been put in a more difficult situation because of the budget decision. 

“We need to see that funding reinstated. We also need to see more social housing being built to answer the needs of our communities and not luxury developments that answer the needs of developers.”

Original statement by Denbighshire County Council:

Following the publicity surrounding homelessness in Rhyl last week,

Councillor Bobby Feeley, Denbighshire County Council’s Lead Member for Wellbeing and Independence and Councillor Brian Blakeley, Denbighshire’s Homeless Champion, would like to emphasise the amount of excellent work carried out by our Homelessness Prevention Team across the county:

“Housing is a priority for the Council and we are working hard to ensure everyone is supported to live in homes that meet their needs. The Council’s aim is to end homelessness within Denbighshire.  We realise this is an ambitious aim, but one we feel is important.

Our dedicated homelessness prevention team provides a wide range of support for people who unfortunately find themselves homeless, including working with private and social landlords to ensure properties are available, the prevention of homelessness by working with households to overcome problems and support for people requiring emergency and temporary accommodation. 

We work with a number of agencies through the Supporting People Programme to provide a range of support services including supported housing for those most in need. 

This provides the right support at the right time to prevent homelessness and helps homeless households and families find the best permanent housing solution for them.

Hotels are occasionally used by the Council to provide short-term emergency accommodation for those in need, but they are not seen as a long-term solution and our aim is to re-house families and individuals in accommodation that meets their needs as quickly and efficiently as possible. 

At the present time we have 89 households in emergency accommodation, mainly in B&B-type facilities in Rhyl.  In addition there are 42 households in temporary accommodation, awaiting a permanent residence. 

As a Council, we have a vision for Rhyl that sees a vibrant retail, leisure and tourist industry and want to support local businesses in being part of this. 

It will continue to be necessary to use hotels and B&Bs to enable us to meet our obligations to households who require emergency accommodation, but it is important to ensure we have the balance right to ensure such accommodation is used appropriately and as a short-term measure while households are supported to find permanent housing.

The demand for our services has grown over the last few years, especially since the introduction of the Housing (Wales) Act and the introduction of Universal Credit. We expect this to rise further when the part of the Housing Act relating to ‘intentionality of homelessness’ comes into force in April and we will continue to provide the highest level of support to our residents who are in need.

We are currently exploring a range of options for the provision of support across the homelessness spectrum, including alternative accommodation across Denbighshire.”

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