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Swansea homelessness charity Caer Las sees 75 per cent increase in the number it helps

By South Wales Evening Post  |  Posted: April 12, 2013

More people facing homelessness are turning to Caer Las.

Comments (10)

A CHARITY working with people facing homelessness has seen a 75 per cent increase in people knocking on its door for help.

Caer Las, which has an access point in The Strand, saw 347 people this quarter seeking help, compared with 198 in the same quarter last year.

Dan Jolley, Caer Las business development manager, said: "We were expecting an increase, but not of the scale that we have seen. The benefits changes haven't even begun to take effect yet. They only came into effect on April 1, these figures represent January to March.

"We haven't seen the impact from the bedroom tax yet, but are starting to have clients who are running into difficulties because they have too many bedrooms because there is a shortage of houses with one or two bedrooms.

"We haven't seen the impact of the UK Government's welfare reform programme yet, but are expecting another dramatic increase in the number of people accessing our services.

"One of our biggest worries is direct payment of benefits when the universal credit begins.

"There have been trials in Torfaen that have seen rent arrears increase significantly.

"Services that are already being run on a shoestring are under increasing pressure to serve a larger client group. We're having to work smarter and be more innovative when it comes to delivering services to vulnerable client groups in Swansea."

The access point is on The Strand behind Swansea train station and provides advice, advocacy and support to people who are homeless or are threatened with homelessness.

Even compared with the beginning of the 2012/13 financial year, the numbers have rocketed. In the first quarter 207 people used the access point.

Over the past eight years the figures have risen and fallen. However, in comparison, in the first quarter of 2002/05 52 people visited the access point.

Stuart is one of those people to have sought help from Caer Las. The 29-year- old from Townhill went to Caer Las following a relationship breakdown.

He had spent three nights sleeping in his car and was referred to Caer Las via Swansea Council's housing options. Caer Las helped him to access counselling, and found him accommodation in a shared house in Port Tennant.

Stuart also needed help with his current employment support allowance benefit and Caer Las helped him to complete a disability living allowance application.

The team also helped him with resettlement items for his property.

Stuart said: "Without the help from Caer Las I would still be in my car, their support has been fantastic. I'm coming to terms with my situation with the counselling I'm receiving and feel like I'm getting my life back on track."

The charity's executive director Jim Bird Waddington said of the increase in clients: "We had to double check these figures, we were expecting an increase, but this is incredible. The welfare reform program is really starting to have an impact now and we're seeing a similar increase in our Routes Project in Port Talbot."

If you would like to volunteer to help at Caer Las call 01792 646071; if you would like to make a donation, such as food and blankets, call 01792 467027.

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  • Whichypoohs  |  April 13 2013, 3:38PM

    @ antyal....not that you would have heard of LBC RADIO LONDON, but every Thursday Clegg is on Nick Ferrari's show. I am not a Lib Dem, I'm an old-school Tory (now known as UKIP.) What I I am saying is that he has more courage than the rest.

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  • lancelot69  |  April 13 2013, 12:14AM

    If the tenants fail to pay their rent the landlord serves 8 weeks notice to vacate. these people then get put on the housing list and have advice from council run agencies to stay at the properties, prolonging the time of no rent being paid, landlords footing the bill of issuing court proceedings.... The law sucks, really sucks

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  • jamesuk2011  |  April 12 2013, 11:08PM

    It's nothing to do with the coalition. This is typical of the overstaffed and overpaid public sector workers. 4 people in Swansea council are on more money than the PM. Too many chiefs in this country sitting on their backsides in cushty jobs. Swansea council is a law unto themselves and you can shove the police commissioners salary on my council tax. Another jobsworth.

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  • antyall  |  April 12 2013, 10:06PM

    whichypoohs Clegg is in the toilet we know where he is so he is not hiding,he is on the road to oblivion (great name by the way) Spideyjones,your first post was spot on,however I fail to see your logic in the second. If a person does prioritise fags and booze over rent,I would humbly suggest that they have a problem and should not have the money paid to themselves. This is another form of social manipulation causing grief to themselves and probably their family, Hopefully the council will put safe guards in place to stop it happening in Swansea as it has in other areas.

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  • Whichypoohs  |  April 12 2013, 7:04PM

    I really detest the demonic Cameron & Duncan-Smith. I'm not a Liberal, however, at least Clegg faces the public rather than hide in the toilet!

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  • eflightray  |  April 12 2013, 6:28PM

    If there are so may homeless people out there........and there is social housing with so many empty spare bedrooms...... Doesn't there seem to be an answer ?

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  • Spideyjonesy  |  April 12 2013, 3:21PM

    I will always stick up for the needy but if people spend their benefits on booze and fags then they can expect to be evicted simple as that

  • tomitma  |  April 12 2013, 1:21PM

    As soon as the new law comes into effect about housing benefit being paid to the tenant instead of the landlord, there are going to be hundreds evicted, can you actually see some of these people thinking I can pay my rent out of this money, or buy cigarettes and cans of booze, I am afraid that they are going to spend the money. Most people have had there rent paid directly to the landlord up until now. I think that it is absolutely stupid paying the tenant. The temptation will be too much, especially around Christmas and school holidays.

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  • tellyon  |  April 12 2013, 12:28PM

    I hope this Labour council will listen to local residents, trade-unionists and Swansea Anti-cuts Campaign and announce a policy of NO EVICTIONS to people affected by the bedroom tax and benefit changes. Other councils have done this already, now Swansea must adopt this policy too. They must defend the people they were elected by.

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  • Spideyjonesy  |  April 12 2013, 10:34AM

    what a shock a tory government comes in and homeless figures increase. Another legacy of thatcher and her political heir Cameron. good luck to every one in this situation there but for the grace of god go us all

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