Conditions in some temporary homeless housing in North Wales have been condemned as “shocking” and “horrific” by the homeless charity Shelter Cymru.
It was revealed to North Wales Live that in some cases residents share limited facilities while staying alongside 100 people in hotels.
As new coronavirus restrictions loom, charities fear it will be the last straw for those struggling to make ends meet.
If so, they say some temporary housing needs urgent upgrading in order to properly accommodate an influx of extremely vulnerable members of society.
Read more: Homeless mother of five must live on Â£ 33 a week for Christmas
Jennie Bibbings, Campaigns Manager for Shelter Cymru, said the number of temporary accommodation across Wales is “higher than ever”.
She said: âLocal authorities have long waiting lists to place people in temporary accommodation, and it is technically illegal.
âEveryone on this waiting list has a legal right to emergency accommodation, and yet the advice just says we know we have a duty to accommodate you, but there is simply nowhere for you. to put.
âAll of those people who are on the waiting lists sleep in the streets in tents or vehicles, or they can rely on their friends and family and stay on sofas.
âThey are all in very precarious situations. If another foreclosure happened and suddenly all of these people were in need of housing, I have no idea how that could happen.
âThe housing system has so many flaws. Affordable housing and social housing are both so scarce. The pandemic has really shown the failings of the housing market. “
The vagrancy law has been criticized in recent times for the way it is used against the homeless, with many believing that it is there only to criminalize those who have gone through hard times.
Ms Bibbings said: ‘This is non-delegated legislation so there is not much we can do about it in Wales. But it’s a really obscure historical law that makes you wonder why this law is on the books. It’s pre-Victorian.
âMoving people out of city centers does not offer them housing, support and does not solve the situation in any way.
“We don’t think this kind of approach has a place in 21st century Britain.”
Being homeless in North Wales paints a sad picture.
With the housing market overwhelmed by outside buyers pushing up prices, residents are struggling to find their own homes and are subsequently forced onto the streets, and the support does not look so promising.
“I hear some pretty horrific stories about some of the temporary housing in North Wales,” Ms Bibbings said.
âThere was a woman who lived in a dwelling with 100 other people. And between them, they had two microwaves between 100 people.
âShe kept asking us for advice, really distressed. She worked in a care facility and therefore had to wash her clothes between each shift, but there were no washing facilities in the accommodation, so she struggled to make it work.
âWhat made matters worse was that she barely ate. She shared two microwaves with 100 other people, so of course she lost a lot of weight as well.
Hostels are another last resort that many are turning to, although Ms Bibbings said some places in North Wales appear to be falling below par in this department again.
âThere’s one in Wrexham where you have to be at 6pm and, if you’re not at 6pm, you might not come in that night at all,â she said.
âIt’s quite restrictive, having to work every day with a 6pm curfew in your life. I’ve heard that an 8pm curfew can be common, but a 6pm curfew hours, I think, is particularly strict. “
You don’t have to live on the streets to be considered homeless, and there are thousands of homeless people who don’t fit into this category.
âWhen people think of homelessness, they think of sleeping on the streets,â Ms. Bibbings said.
âSleeping on the streets is a form of homelessness, but it really is the end. At any time, there are hundreds of people sleeping rough. But what you don’t see are the thousands of people in Wales who are homeless but not visible.
âPrivate rents in Wales are growing faster than anywhere else in the UK, and social housing is like potholes. It’s so hard to find a new place to live, and that’s when people have to fall back on the homeless system.
We have been living with a pandemic for almost two years, but it seems pretty clear that we have been suffering from a homeless epidemic in North Wales for some time now, and this also deserves increased attention.
Follow this link to donate or see how you can help Shelter Cymru support those in desperate need..