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Rapid Rehousing Plan to tackle homelessness in Neath Port Talbot

Credit: Neath Port Talbot County Borough Council

Neath Port Talbot councillors have approved a Rapid Rehousing Plan which is part of a Wales-wide initiative aimed at making any homelessness “rare, brief and unrepeated”.

Welsh Government published its Ending Homelessness in Wales strategy in 2021.

It came after the Covid-19 pandemic resulted in a crisis in homelessness and it was felt a radical change and a shift towards early preventative actions and a rapid rehousing model was needed in Wales.

Welsh councils are now being asked to transform their homelessness services over the next five years in line with Welsh Government’s ambitions.

Rapid Rehousing is an intervention designed to help households quickly exit a homelessness crisis and to avoid becoming homeless again.

It is a housing led solution but is focused on the needs of the individual – requiring a person-centred approach.

The ultimate objective is to offer housing that is safe, affordable, decent, and meets the needs of the individual in terms of location, proximity to family, services, access to transport and facilities such as shops and schools.

It does not require people to be “tenancy ready” before they access accommodation. Instead, they will be offered a bespoke package of assistance, tailored to the issues they are facing in maintaining a tenancy.

In this way people access permanent accommodation, reducing the risk of repeated episodes of homelessness, and the trauma that can cause.

It requires strong partnership working with housing associations, health and third sector providers in order to deliver a holistic approach to providing a home and close support.

Welsh Government says in its Ending Homelessness Strategy that for Rapid Rehousing to be effective, all local authorities need to work to increase the availability and diversity of affordable housing options, whether directly owned council housing, housing associations, or well regulated, affordable private rental properties.

Members of Neath Port Talbot Council’s Social Services, Housing and Community Safety Cabinet Board have now approved the authority’s Rapid Rehousing Plan in order to comply with Welsh Government requirements and to improve the council’s response to homelessness as well as supporting staff who are working in challenging circumstances.

Neath Port Talbot Council’s Deputy Leader, Cllr Alun Llewelyn, whose Cabinet portfolio covers Housing and Community Safety, said: “We are serious about tackling homelessness and aim to ensure all people presenting as homeless have both the accommodation and support they need to lead positive lives in our communities.

“Although Neath Port Talbot Council does not have its own council housing, we will be working with Housing Associations and other providers.