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Help is on hand for people threatened with homelessness in Swansea

By South Wales Evening Post  |  Posted: December 29, 2012

By Helen Keates

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CHRISTMAS and new year is a joyous time for many, but some will have found themselves homeless over the holidays.

But there are people on-hand to help out.

Swansea Council's Housing Options is getting ready for a busy new year in the aftermath of the festive season when many people find themselves either threatened with homelessness or dealing with housing difficulties.

Staff at the Housing Options shop on High Street are prepared to help people deal with housing problems because of reasons such as relationship breakdown, temporary accommodation running out or limited finances.

Staff see a growth in demand for this type of service every year in the days and weeks that follow Christmas.

Households affected by redundancies and unemployment may also find it difficult to pay important bills and make rent or mortgage payments. This is why they're being urged to take immediate action and seek advice as soon as possible.

Housing options can also give advice on issues such as the legal rights of a tenant and they can negotiate with landlords and mortgage companies to help keep people in their homes. Other roles see the team give advice on how to access emergency and permanent accommodation and support packages.

June Burtonshaw, Swansea Council's cabinet member for place, said: "The Christmas period can put an enormous strain on relationships, families and finances which can result in people being asked to leave their accommodation.

"In our experience the earlier households contact us about a housing problem, the more we're able to do. I'd urge all households who are experiencing housing difficulties to take urgent action and seek advice as soon as possible."

The staff at housing options will try to prevent homelessness whenever possible and, if appropriate, arrange for a planned move into more appropriate accommodation. They will negotiate with landlords and relatives and give a good idea of all of the housing options that are available.

Housing options also offers a money advice service that targets households that are at risk of repossession. Trained money advisers can try to prevent the loss of the home and will try and help households bring their finances back under control. Advisers can provide advice, support, practical assistance, advocacy and representation in court.

Housing Options is at 17 High Street and can be contacted on 01792 533100.

Shelter Cymru's 24-hour housing and benefits advice line is available on 0845 075 5005.

In an emergency over the holidays, the call-out homelessness officer can be contacted out of hours on 01792 636000.

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