Vulnerable families and individuals are facing an average of 30 weeks in emergency accommodation while waiting for a permanent home, according to shock findings obtained by Plaid Cymru.
And longest wait in temporary accommodation has been a staggering 917 days – 131 weeks or nearly THREE YEARS.
A Freedom of Information request revealed that 198 individuals and 40 families - with a total of 24 children - are in temporary accommodation which can range from private sector accommodation, hostels, a women’s refuge and bed and breakfast guest houses. Twenty-four people are housed outside Caerphilly County.
Councillor Steve Skivens, a Plaid Cymru member of Caerphilly County’s social services scrutiny committee, said: “The information revealed following the Freedom of Information request is frankly shocking– an average wait of 30 weeks and one incidence of a wait of nearly three years. This cannot be acceptable.
“During the Covid-19 pandemic Caerphilly Council made great efforts to find accommodation for homeless and vulnerable individuals and families.
“The intention is to hold people in temporary or emergency accommodation for a short period until alternative homes can be found and lives can be rebuilt on a permanent basis. Some six weeks to do so have been indicated by officers in the past as a suitable wait.
“This is clearly just not happening which begs the question; are we doing our best to support vulnerable people? A Freedom Of Information request last year revealed 1,380 private properties in Caerphilly County lie empty, some for more than 10 years and many more over 5 years.
He added: “Often people placed into emergency or temporary accommodation are needy and appreciate the support. However, some do not have a good experience being exposed to bullying, substance misuse, financial problems, depression and worse.
“We need to support these individuals and families and ensure our council safeguarding links with other departments work to reduce the time people spend in temporary or emergency accommodation before we have tragedies.”
Councillor Lindsay Whittle, leader of the Plaid Cymru group, said: “As a former housing manager I can say three years is way too long for any person to be in temporary homeless hotel. Surely, a vacancy occurred in that time and what was the cost to keep an individual or family so long?”