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YHA HOSTEL: Cardiff Council set to buy hostel

YHA HOSTEL: Cardiff Council set to buy hostel

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Cardiff council set to buy YHA hostel used to house homeless during pandemic

Cardiff council is set to buy the YHA hostel used to house homeless people during the coronavirus pandemic.

At the start of the pandemic last spring, the council rented all the rooms in the YHA on East Tyndall Street, and the OYO budget hotel on Claire Street, Riverside. Homeless people were given rooms to stay in and protect them from the spread of Covid-19.

While the OYO in Riverside saw many complaints from local residents about anti-social behaviour, the YHA is between Splott and Atlantic Wharf, and did  not receive complaints from neighbours.

However, the YHA still saw some problems last summer, with one person staying there describing the hostel as a “nightmare”, and another calling it a “spice den”, with open drug use and frequent police visits. Cardiff council previously said drug use “was not tolerated”.

The council offered a range of support services to the 89 homeless people staying at the YHA like counselling.

Councillor Lynda Thorne, cabinet member for housing and communities, said: “The opportunity to buy the YHA hostel we have been using for almost 12 months now is an exciting one.

“The accommodation and services we have delivered there have been crucial to the success we have had during that time, supporting people away from life on the streets.

“We have had an unprecedented opportunity to work with the vulnerable people who needed our support over the past year and we don’t want to lose that momentum. We’ve committed to ‘No Going Back’ and buying the hostel is an important step on that journey.”

The council’s cabinet will vote on Thursday, February 25, on buying the hostel. The council has already made a provisional offer to YHA, accepted by the company. It is likely to cost taxpayers £6.4 million.

Elsewhere, a new assessment centre is being built on Cowbridge Road East. The centre will offer 24-hour triage for single homeless people to match them with the help they need, as well as short-term emergency accommodation. Work is due to finish by the end of February.

Building work is also taking place at Adams Court, on the western edge of Adamsdown near the prison. The council is converting social housing flats into supported accommodation for homeless people. Student flats on Newport Road have also been recently converted.

Shipping containers on Bute Street, near the Huggard, are still being used for homeless people who need to self-isolate. These were due to revert back to family accommodation “early this year” but this was pushed back until at least June, due to the ongoing pandemic.

Three blocks of temporary accommodation for families are also being built: Briardene on North Road, the Gasworks in Grangetown, and Harrison Avenue in St Mellons. Each centre will be staffed during the day to support families.

Cllr Thorne said: “We are making such good progress on all aspects of the new vision we outlined last summer.

“I’m confident that new provision such as the assessment centre and new family homelessness centres coming on stream this year will enable us to sustain the success we had in 2020 and ensure we are doing the best we can to support vulnerable individuals and families experiencing homelessness.”

Words: Alex Seabrook, Local Democracy Reporter

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