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Last Updated: Friday, 31 October, 2003, 16:05 GMT
Big rise in rural homeless
Homeless person
Homelessness in Ceredigion has reached record levels
New figures reveal a startling increase in the number of homeless people in a mid Wales county.

The record numbers have resulted in Ceredigion housing chiefs facing a financial crisis as they try to cope with the extra workload.

A total of 82 people were placed in temporary accommodation in September, but according to council leader Dai Lloyd Evans this is a huge increase from the 25 or so cases at the start of the year.

The council's cabinet has now agreed to release enough funds to pay for an extra member of staff until next April.

But members have also asked the housing department for a report on the situation within a month so that it can start dealing with the problem.

These homeless people are moving into Ceredigion month after month and all we can do is throw money at them
Council leader Dai Lloyd Evans

'Social decay'

Of the 82 people interviewed by the department in September, 21 were born in Ceredigion and 48 had established a connection with the area for at least six months.

But 13 of the 82 had no local connection with the county.

"Our figures show that about 16 young people already living in the county had claimed they have been turned out of their homes by their parents for each of the last three months," said Mr Lloyd Evans.

"This is extremely worrying because it shows the social decay in this county.

The local authority has a statutory responsibility to find homes for homeless people who have had a connection with Ceredigion for six months.

Dai Lloyd Evans
Dai Lloyd Evans says homelessness contributes to social decay

Cllr Evans said he was worried by the numbers who had moved into the county in the past six months.

"These homeless people are moving into Ceredigion month after month and all we can do is throw money at them.

"This can't carry on or the structure of our community is going to be spoilt forever.

'Enormous pressure'

"If a council house becomes vacant that house will invariably go to a homeless person who has come into the area with social problems."

"There aren't many spare houses in Ceredigion at the moment and this department has been under enormous pressure in coping with the workload," said Ann Rees, assistant director of housing.

"We will have to look at finding ways to deal with this problem in a homelessness strategy which we will put before the full council at the end of November."

A spokesman for housing charity Shelter Cymru agreed that Ceredigion had clear attractions for those generally migrating from other areas.

He added that further work was needed to see whether the figures for the last three months showed a long-term trend in homeless people coming from other areas.

"We cannot agree with the view that improved homelessness services will attract more people an the answer is not providing the necessary services and support provision in the hope of deterring presentations from other areas," he said.

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28 May 03  |  South East Wales
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23 Apr 03  |  Wales

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