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Last Updated: Thursday, 28 June 2007, 05:53 GMT 06:53 UK
'Rampant' house market condemned
Dean White, his partner and three of their children in their home
Dean White shares a council house with his partner and five children
Steps must be taken to address a shortage of affordable homes in Wales, says the charity Shelter Cymru.

A "rampant housing market" and a lack of affordable and suitable housing were key factors in homelessness, a report by the charity has found.

It wants the assembly government to build 3,500 affordable homes a year by 2011 to clear the "backlog of need".

Housing Minister Andrew Davies said he was committed to spending 450m over four years on affordable homes.

But according to the charity, building homes is not enough in itself, and people who want to get onto the first rung of the property ladder should also be helped.

Among the recommendations of the report were for the Welsh Assembly Government to increase public investment in affordable housing, and to find new ways to bring in more private funding.

We are working with the UK government, we are working with local authorities and the private voluntary sector to address this issue
Housing Minister Andrew Davies

New low-cost home ownership initiatives and funds to tackle homelessness prevention work were also urged in the inquiry, to be launched at Shelter Cymru's annual conference in Swansea on Thursday.

The year-long investigation into homelessness and poor housing in Wales took its eight-strong panel to six locations in Wales, where more than 160 people, including the homeless and those living in poor conditions, gave evidence.

Shelter Cymru's director John Puzey, said the early indications were that the new assembly government was making housing a national priority.

"It is our job to make sure it stays there," he said.

Damp in Dean White's bathroom
There are electrical, heating and damp issues in Mr White's home

The Shelter Cymru report comes less than a week after two housing bodies warned of a 40,000 shortage of affordable homes in Wales.

The Home Builders Federation and the Chartered Institute of Housing Cymru said fewer new homes were being built in Wales than at any time since World War II.

Mr Davies said affordable housing was one of the assembly government's most important priorities.

"We are working with the UK government, we are working with local authorities and the private voluntary sector to address this issue," he said.

"Allowing first-time buyers onto the housing ladder is crucial for us. That is why we are looking to expand our Homebuy scheme."

It puts a downer on your day. You walk into the bathroom and the damp patches and mould is all I see
Dean White

The shortage of affordable homes has affected Dean White, his partner and their five children who live in a three-bedroom council house in Llandysul in Ceredigion.

They said they could not afford to buy a bigger home of their own and have numerous problems with their property including heating issues, electrical problems and damp.

"There is just no room at all," he said.

"The kids are always in each other's faces all the time because they have got no room for themselves. It causes arguments.

"It puts a downer on your day. You walk into the bathroom and the damp patches and mould is all I see.

"If they (the council) could just repair it and put an extension on it, that would be enough, but at the moment I just want to get out of the house and to go somewhere else."




VIDEO AND AUDIO NEWS
"We all eat in the front room"


"It is the high price and inflation of housing that has caused it."



SEE ALSO
'Affordable' 180k home for 135k
18 Jun 07 |  North West Wales
UK property prices move upwards
11 Jun 07 |  Business
First-time buyers' record burden
12 Jun 07 |  Business
'Much-needed' rural homes planned
18 Jun 07 |  Mid Wales
Top architect's 'affordable' home
02 May 07 |  Beds/Bucks/Herts

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