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Council fails to prevent huge increase in homelessness at Neath Port Talbot.

Something is going wrong with the efforts to prevent homelessness in Neath Port Talbot, a county councillor has claimed. Walesonline

Councillor Alex Thomas admitted that more than 150 people had been left homeless despite asking for help from Neath and Port Talbot council.

Between April 1, 2017, and March 31, 2018, Neath Port Talbot Council identified a total of 351 people in the county threatened with homelessness.

With the help of an increasing involvement from charities which support people to try and prevent homelessness, 195 people were able to keep their homes. But 156 people lost their homes.

Councillor Alex L.ThomasCouncillor Alex Thomas

At a cabinet scrutiny committee meeting, he said the local authority needed to work out what was going wrong. - but if these councillors dont know what they are paid to do, then what are they still doing in their jobs. And now for the outrageous robotic comments “I know we have some excellent and hard working officers in the housing team" - No they failed and you have a dreadfull housing team.

He said: but clearly there’s something wrong and we need to work out at what stage it’s going wrong.

“We need to see what we, as a council, can do about it.

“There needs to be some work done by a scrutiny committee to see how these households ended up in the situation of potential homelessness, what we did to try and prevent that, why that did not work, and what we can do in the future.”

The number of homeless people in the county tripled between 2016-17 and 2017-18 from 71 to 203.

Housing officers claim there are several issues behind the increase – the impact of Universal Credit introduced in Neath Port Talbot in April 2015 and from 4th October 2017 for most new claims.- they also blame housing associations becoming tougher on who they accept - Tai Tarian drug enforcement style - and people who need housing having more substance misuse and mental health issues than ever before.

They said that once someone had lost their home it became much harder for them to find another one, adding that the council would like to see people coming to them at a much earlier stage so they could receive help.

If someone was facing eviction due to rent arrears the council said they could be given a range of support.

This could involve liaising with the landlord with regard to a payment plan, possibly attending court in relation to a possession order, and working intensively with the person on their budget to improve their knowledge and skills relating to income and expenditure and priority and non-priority bills.

The figures show just 55.6% of households in the county threatened with homelessness were prevented from becoming homeless, while across Wales the figure was 66.4%.

The issue is due to be discussed again by the council at a later date.