People sleeping rough in Swansea are being supported by a rapidly implemented project that will help people experiencing homelessness during the coronavirus pandemic.
Last month, Swansea Council’s Cabinet approved a scheme to create space for 20 people to have a place to live at Ty Tom Jones on Alexandra Road.
The building, refurbished by the council and owned by housing association Pobl, has now opened and is welcoming people who otherwise would not have a roof over their heads during the coronavirus crisis.
As homelessness charities, we – The Wallich – and Caer Las are delivering specialist support for the residents of the hostel, including:
Sian Aldridge, Director of Operations at The Wallich, said:
“Home has never been more important than it is right now, and we are delighted to be partnering with Swansea Council, Pobl, and Caer Las to provide rapid support to people without a safe place to live amidst the coronavirus pandemic.
“It has been a challenge to get the service up and running so quickly but the partners have pulled together.
“The Wallich’s specially trained staff have been working around the clock, despite lockdown, to ensure they get people off the streets and into safety.”
Andrea Lewis, Cabinet Member for Homes and Energy, paid tribute to the council’s staff and partners in getting Ty Tom Jones up and running so quickly.
She said: “This is a great example of partnership in action which directly benefits some of the most vulnerable people in our communities.
“It’ll be reassuring for our residents and for the council that the needs of homeless people in Swansea are being prioritised at this difficult time.
“It demonstrates that throughout this pandemic we are here for all the people of our city.”
The move comes as the Welsh Government announces an additional £20m of funding to help people experiencing homelessness during the pandemic.
It’s anticipated the temporary service will be available until May 2021. Staffing costs will be about £345,000, funds which the council will reclaim from the Welsh Government’s homelessness fund.
The scheme received a welcome early boost with the generous donation to residents of cleaning, personal care and food items from the Wilko Swansea store.
Andrew Vye, Managing Director, Pobl Homes & Communities, said:
“We are really pleased to be part of the council’s efforts to increase the supply of homes for homeless people in Swansea.
“Our new service at Ty Tom Jones will be a bridge between leaving temporary accommodation and moving into a permanent home.
“Working with partners, tenants will receive support, advice and assistance to ensure that when they make their next move, they are ready for that move, helping to break the cycle of homelessness.
“One thing that has been evident throughout this current situation has been people’s generosity and a willingness to support those in the community who need it the most.
“Our teams have seen that every day, working with our customers, local authorities, community groups and business.
“The kind gesture from Wilko Swansea will make a difference to people in the city who really need it at the moment and is warmly welcomed.
“The essential items they have provided will be put to good use and we are extremely grateful for their generosity.”
The building, on Alexandra Road, was a ‘World Habitat’ award finalist in 1998 when it was first renovated.
The construction seeks to avoid the typical institutional features of a hierarchy of corridors, stairs and lobbies.
The energy-efficient, environmentally friendly building is a converted listed building in which a new interior has been configured to create an indoor street with flats, offices and recreational spaces.