Ceredigion County Council has said it is “committed to making homelessness rare, brief and unrepeated” as a new plan calls for a continuation of the ‘everybody in’ strategy used during the Covid pandemic.

A new report on the council’s new five year Rapid Re-Housing Plan is currently being debated in scrutiny committees ahead of being signed off by the authority.

The report said that the plan “is a response to the increased focus on preventing and minimising homelessness” in the county, with figures for 2022 showing that 153 households in Ceredigion were homeless.

The report said that the council has recorded a “consistent” number of people rough sleeping in the county each month of between four and 11.

“Rough sleepers, whilst in absolute terms are low, are an area of focus moving forward,” the report said.

More one bedroom accommodation is badly needed in the county to “enable rapid rehousing” of people made homeless, the report said, with rising house prices exacerbated by the pandemic meaning Ceredigion “remains one of the most unaffordable counties to live.”

The report shows that the biggest issue lies in Aberystwyth where there is “significant unmet demand for social accommodation” along with “some unmet demand” in Aberaeron.

“Smaller households are not appropriately catered for in the housing market which adds to pressures on homelessness where single persons and smaller households are more prevalent,” the report said.

The “primary reason” for homelessness is the loss of accommodation, the report outlines.

“This is largely made up of tenants who have had notice of possession served.

“This has significantly increased in 2021-22 and remains consistently high in 2022-23.

“The Rapid Rehousing Transition Plan aims to take steps to decrease homelessness in this area through appropriate advice and guidance to tenants and landlords, through provision of support to struggling tenants and through prevention activities which aim to sustain tenancies.”

The number of people placed in temporary accommodation instead of a permanent solution has grown year on year since 2020, the data shows.

“Clearly this increasing trend is not sustainable,” the report said.

“The Rapid Rehousing Transition Plan is aiming to reverse this recent trend, enabling people to settle into new homes as soon as possible.”

The report concluded: “Ceredigion County Council is committed to making homelessness rare, brief and unrepeated.

“The benefits of secure, settled and self-contained housing for people who have experienced or been at risk of homelessness are well documented.

“People experiencing homelessness should be supported to a stable home as quickly as possible. “This will help avoid the destabilising and marginalising effects of prolonged homelessness or prolonged stays in emergency or temporary settings while remaining homeless.

“During 2020 to 2022 as a result of the Covid pandemic, the Council worked hard to accommodate all those at risk, under an ‘Everybody In’ umbrella.

“Whilst this has led to increased pressures on the Housing Options and Support teams, we recognise the positive outcomes this has had for people experiencing homelessness and aim to continue the approach.”