Cyngor Gwynedd scheme to tackle homelessness nominated for national award
Innovative pods to house homeless people have been shortlisted for an award in the 'Best Supported Housing Development - Rural/Suburban' category as part of Inside Housing Development Awards 2023.
Cyngor Gwynedd has developed four pods in Caernarfon to provide temporary supported accommodation for homeless people in the area. These pods are fully furnished and self-sufficient, with a kitchen and living room area, bedroom, and bathroom.
These housing pods were a pioneering initiative in Wales when the models were originally designed by officers from the Council's Housing and Property Department, reflecting Cyngor Gwynedd’s commitment to exploring new and ambitious methods of tackling the housing crisis in the county.
The pods were designed following 'Passivhaus' principles, meaning that these units are energy efficient and very well insulated. This design also enables these pods to generate their own energy, reducing both their carbon footprint and the energy costs for residents.
Additionally, Cyngor Gwynedd’s homelessness team provides support to help residents to develop the necessary skills to live independently, before moving on to their own tenancies.
This is part of wider plans by the Council through its Housing Action Plan to provide more support for homeless people, build more social housing for local people and bring empty houses back into use.
A resident of one of the pods said:
“Staying in this pod has been a great experience overall. I feel safe and settled here knowing that somebody from the support team is on the other side of the phone if needed.
“The energy bills are also low meaning that I don’t worry about the high costs of heating the place. I rarely put the radiators on here and I’ve been living here for a few months now. More or less everything I need is here, and in comparison to my experience of living in a hotel, it’s so nice to be able to properly cook and have everything supplied.
‘’The support from the homelessness team has made a world of difference, and I’m waiting now to take the next steps of getting my own home in the local area.”
Councillor Craig ab Iago, Cyngor Gwynedd Cabinet Member for Housing and Property said about this project:
“It's wonderful to see this project gaining widespread recognition. These eco-pods in Caernarfon are an exciting new development for us and underlines our desire to ensure a range of affordable, eco-friendly housing that is low cost to maintain for tenants.
“There is also an urgent need for more temporary accommodation in the county. Homelessness in Gwynedd has spiralled over the last few years, exacerbated by the global pandemic and the ongoing housing crisis. Right now, the options we have to accommodate people are extremely limited.
“This development has helped us not only to offer accommodation for individuals to be able to move on from emergency accommodation, but also relieves us of our dependence on unsuitable temporary accommodation such as bed and breakfast hotels, and as a result reduces the costs that go hand in hand with this."
This is one of several plans from the Council to reduce its reliance on unsuitable emergency accommodation. More details can be found in the Housing Action Plan.