New plans to address urgent and pressing housing challenges



The housing emergency in Cardiff continues and the need for more permanent and temporary affordable housing remains an urgent and pressing issue.


The Council remains committed to delivering rapid solutions to tackle the unprecedented demand for homelessness and housing services in the city and has developed a set of new proposals to create around 250 new affordable homes in the city, as quickly as possible.


Some property and land purchase proposals, approved by Cabinet to help alleviate pressures when the authority declared a housing emergency
  in the city in December, are now no longer available so new plans have been brought forward to increase the availability of accommodation at pace.


At its meeting today (Thursday, May 23) Cabinet approved recommendations to buy two commercial properties - one which could be converted for residential use to deliver 79 new homes, while the second building would deliver 20 new family apartments, ranging from one to four bedrooms units.


A vacant development site close to these two buildings is also available and would allow the Council to rapidly expand its successful modular homes programme to create around 150 homes for temporary or long-term family accommodation.


Cabinet Member for Housing and Communities, Cllr Lynda Thorne, said: "We have made good progress since December. Work to prevent families becoming homeless in the first place and our extra modular homes at the former Gasworks site in Grangetown have helped to reduce the number of families waiting for temporary accommodation.


"The number of single people presenting to our homeless Out of Hours Service has fallen from an average of 88 a night at the end of last year to an average of three per night currently, and rough sleeping has decreased from 43 in December to 23.


"But the emergency isn't over by any means and the cause of this incredibly difficult situation we are in, which is fundamentally a lack of affordable housing, remains.


"There are still 1,028 single people in temporary and emergency accommodation, 122 families living in hotels and 595 families in standard temporary provision.  And different challenges, that have emerged since December, putting further strain on already overstretched services now need to be addressed as well.


"Now that some of the options we approved back in December are no longer available, it's crucial that that we find alternative ways to rapidly increase the supply of good quality, affordable homes, while our existing housing development programme continues to provide more longer term solutions."


In the medium term, the Council plans the ‘meanwhile use' of vacant sites for the construction of around 350 additional modular units via Cardiff Living, its new homes partnership programme with developer Wates Residential. Progress to secure Welsh Government approval and funding support for 35 units at Ty Ephraim, one of the Council's existing provisions for single people, has been successful and discussions are ongoing around further sites.


In the longer term, the Council's house building programme will continue to deliver new council and affordable homes for sale at 60 sites across the city, with the capacity for more than 4,000 new homes. Currently 1,127 new council homes have been completed and an additional 368 units are under construction on site.


As well as approving the new property and land acquisitions, Cabinet approved the continued use of hotels in the city as temporary accommodation for a further 12 months.


During this incredibly challenging period, hotels have been an essential part of temporary accommodation provision to meet the demand and while the Council has ended the contract with one of the hotels used for families, two remain in use and will continue to be needed in the shorter term.


Cllr Thorne added: "Hotel use will be ended as soon as we possibly can but at the moment, the planned and exclusive use of hotels provides us with greater certainty of availability than ad hoc placements and more stability for residents who are already going through a disruptive experience.  Council support staff will continue to be based at the hotels to assist residents to access help and services."


Read the full report here: