Families and individuals desperate for housing have to wait an average of up to two years until they are allocated a home.
And even those in the highest priority band – A – have an average wait of 460 days with the number of housing applicants rising 33 per cent since 2019-20 from 4,239 to 5,670, a Freedom of Information (FoI) request by Plaid Cymru has revealed. This is made up of 399 applicants in Band 1, 1,875 in Band 2 and 3,396 in Band 3.
The FOI also showed that 27 council properties were empty at the time of the response and waiting for new tenants, with two-thirds of them one-bed homes.
Caerphilly County Borough Council also revealed the areas where the demand for council properties is highest - Caerphilly Central, Bedwas, Blackwood, Cefn Fforest, Ystrad Mynach and Oakdale.
Penyrheol ward Plaid Cymru councillor Greg Ead, who is a member of the council’s housing and regeneration scrutiny committee said: “As a new councillor I find the number of applicants on each of the waiting lists to be truly shocking. I appreciate the pandemic had an impact on availability of accommodation but these numbers are very disturbing.”
“The 399 Band 1 applicants, who are either homeless or in imminent danger of being homeless, are waiting an average of 460 days (well over a year) for accommodation and that is frankly not good enough. As a ward councillor, I spent more than a month trying to help a resident with a range of mental health and physical disabilities to be rehoused. He had been on the highest priority list since January 2021 – over 18 months. Thankfully, he has now been rehoused.”
“I accept this is not just an issue for Caerphilly but is an issue for councils across Wales and the wider UK. I find it disgraceful that the UK Government has done very little to ensure that enough social housing is built or available in line with the rising the UK population.
“It is also important that Caerphilly housing officials are better in communicating with applicants waiting on the register and are open and transparent so applicants are well aware of likely waiting times for accommodation.”