BED AND BREAKFAST COSTS DOWN
BED and breakfast costs for homeless people in Carmarthenshire have been slashed by a huge 98 per cent.
A major drive is underway to ensure that people needing emergency accommodation do not have to be placed in B&Bs.
Instead housing officers are finding them high quality rental properties in the county.
Carmarthenshire County Council is behind the move as part of a drive to improve housing standards.
Figures show the council has spent just £2,297 on housing people in B&Bs this year.
It is down by 98.9 per cent on 2005-06 when the cost was £397,059 for 187 households, 84 of which had children.
This year only four households have been placed into B&Bs and none with children.
Head of Housing Services Robin Staines said: “We have carried out a great deal of work to reduce the use of B&B accommodation for homeless households, particularly those with children.
“We have worked with private landlords and Housing Associations to provide very good quality self-contained temporary accommodation
“Private rented properties are very important in terms of meeting local need and we want to ensure that any that are let to families are of good standard.
“A great deal of progress is being made in improving standards, and we will continue to work with landlords to deliver improvements for service users.”
The figures are revealed as a major programme is underway to improve standards in the private rented sector in Carmarthenshire.
Officers want to ensure that the county’s rental accommodation is of the highest quality for tenants.
They are working with landlords to drive up standards and stamp out potential hazards like fire safety, damp and mould, excess cold and electrical problems.
A Housing Health and Safety rating system is in place to identify issues in private rented properties.
And a Carmarthenshire Accommodation Accreditation Scheme has been set up to identify good landlords, agents and properties.
Regular landlord forum meetings are held and landlords and letting agents are encouraged to apply to the scheme.
Properties are assessed and included on the recommended database if they meet the required legal standards.
Housing Executive Board Member cllr Hugh Evans said: “The council is committed to providing a quality private rented sector for tenants in Carmarthenshire.
“I am pleased that so much proactive work is being carried out to make improvements and reduce the need for B&B accommodation.
“I commend the work of all the officers involved in making these savings.”