Housing Advice

Temporary Accommodation: Homeless Pods

FAQ’S

What’s happening on site now?

We are carrying out the final touches to the site to ensure that they are ready for the first occupants.

When will residents start moving in?

We are looking to allocate the pods in late June / early July.

Who is going to be living in the pods?

The pods will be allocated in accordance with homelessness legislation. For more information on homeless legislation please see: Shelter Cymru. The pods will be allocated to those with low-level support needs. The level of the individual’s needs will be assessed off site and those with a higher level of support needs will be accommodated on sites where this level of support will be available.

Who will be responsible for the day to day running of the pods?

We are currently working with support agencies on this now the pods are nearing completion.

What support will the residents be receiving?

  • Tailored support dependant on individual need.
  • On site support staff.
  • Support from the Housing Prevention and Advice Team.
  • Food parcels / starter kits.

Who can I contact if I have any queries or concerns about the pods?

We have a single point of contact, which is the Housing Customer Liaison Team. Please contact the team with any queries or concerns via housingCLO@pembrokeshire.gov.uk or call 01437 764551.

What security will the site have?

There will be staff on site to support residents once the pods are occupied. There is also CCTV on site 24/7 which will be monitored.

How long will the pods be on the Hubberston site?

The pods can be temporarily located at the Hubberston site under planning permitted development allowance for a period of 12 months. As we are coming to the end of this initial period, we will be looking to explore obtaining further planning permission. However, it remains our long-term intention to build additional social housing on this site.

What funding was used to purchase these pods and develop the Hubberston site for their use?

Grant funding from Welsh Government was made available during COVID to provide additional units of accommodation. We have utilised this grant for the purchase of the units. 

Will there be parking on site for residents?

There will be 10 spaces marked out on site, 8 for residents and 2 for staff. 

Is anything being done in relation to the problems with parking on Observatory Avenue?

This is something that is being looked at. This is ongoing and the solution has not yet been reached.

What will be in each pod?

One pod is made up of two container units joined together. One side has the kitchen and living area and the other side has a bedroom and separate bathroom.

The living area has a 2 seater sofa, small breakfast bar and chairs and a TV and TV stand. The kitchen has a cooker/hob, microwave, kettle and fridge freezer, crockery, cutlery, pots and pans.

The bathroom contains a shower, toilet and wash hand basin. The bedroom has a bed, wardrobe and chest of drawers.

Please see our Housing Facebook page for a video tour of the pods.

What is the need for the homeless pods and why has there been an increase in homeless customers in Pembrokeshire?

Following the start of the pandemic, the Welsh Government have enforced that Local Authorities must house anyone who presents as homeless. Previously those presenting had to first be assessed and then a decision would be made as to whether they were offered temporary accommodation. The number of those needing temporary accommodation has therefore increased massively. The Welsh Government expectation is that Local Authorities continue to house all those presenting as homeless is expected to continue, with direction given by Welsh Ministers that there will be no return to the pre-pandemic approach to preventing homelessness. Therefore the pressure to source temporary accommodation is expected to continue.

Why were the community not consulted?

We are currently in the midst of a housing crisis. Following the changes in legislation from Welsh Government, the large increase of homeless presentations is putting an immense pressure onto our housing stock and temporary accommodation options. B&B’s have heavily been relied upon during the pandemic but options are very limited. It is expected for local authorities to create temporary accommodation solutions and we needed to act quickly in order to secure Welsh Government funding. The Pods were used as a temporary solution as they met the condition of Welsh Government funding, that the accommodation had to be something that was already constructed prior to being delivered on site. The pods also provide potential for use on other sites in future. The Hubberston location was chosen for the pods as this site was vacant and had a large area of flat ground.

There were concerns about a lack of privacy for houses backing onto the site. What did PCC do about it?

A six foot perimeter fence was erected around the site in order to maintain privacy of local residents and residents of the pods.

What is the legal distance a building should be from other boundaries?

There is no legal distance a building must be from the boundary of the site it is located on, and each development is looked at individually. The factors that are normally taken into account include the height of the new building, how close existing buildings are to the boundary and whether there is an impact on the natural light those existing buildings will receive. The pods are single storey, roughly 4 meters from the existing boundary and there is quite a distance from the boundary to the neighbouring buildings.

Was the demolition of the old school on the site safe in regards to releasing airborne asbestos?

Yes, the Local Authority have a legal obligation to remove all known asbestos before demolishing a building. The Local Authority held a management survey on the building and prior to it being demolished, a demolition survey was undertaken. Specialist surveyors identified all areas that asbestos was present and a soft strip took place with all asbestos removed and disposed of in a licenced facility. This was undertaken by the in house asbestos team, following the in house procedure and all work was done under permits. The building was cleared and air clearance certificates were awarded before the demolition took place.

PCC said there were only going to be eight units at the site so why are there more than this?

Each pod is made up of two units as Welsh Government specified that we needed to provide a separate living/kitchen area to the bedroom space.

Why do the pods not look like the picture in the original press release?

Our pods are single storey, as opposed to the two storeys shown in the picture, in order to make the pods accessible to all.

What involvement has the community had so far?

  • A joint project between Milford Haven Comprehensive School, PCC and National Theatre Wales.
  • An online community meeting in September 2021 to ask any questions or voice any concerns.
  • Community Open Day in May 2022
  • Access to updates via the PCC Housing Facebook page

What is the joint project between Milford Haven Comprehensive, PCC and National Theatre Wales?

National Theatre Wales approached PCC’s Housing department regarding a project they were working on with 17 pupils from Milford Haven Comprehensive. The topic of the project was homelessness so when they saw that PCC were installing pods for homeless customers on the Hubberston site, the young people were very keen to do something to make the site welcoming for them and to provide them with something useful. It was agreed that a colourful, artistic mural would make the site look welcoming and a cook book for each pod would give them a homely feel and help give them ideas for healthy meals on a budget.

They worked with an artist to create the mural and a chef to create recipes for the cook book. The cook book features a series of recipes that will cost about £20 per week which we will also be sharing with all of our other tenants.

We will be doing a handover when the pods are open and we cannot wait to see the finished mural and cookbooks the young people have worked hard to produce for our pod residents.

We received concerns from members of the public about using this type of accommodation to house the homeless, therefore we were keen to get some feedback from our homeless customers to get their thoughts/perceptions of living in one of our self-contained units. This is what they said:

‘I think they are an excellent idea. The cladding will make them look more appealing and homely.’

‘I think they look really nice inside! And fine from the front with the windows - whilst not as aesthetically pleasing as a house, the nature of what a pod is means that looking a bit prefab is unavoidable. If they want to make them look more welcoming, maybe nice colourful curtains would help.’

‘They are looking great so far. I feel they need some privacy- like fencing. A communal area and some landscaping would be great.’

‘More privacy, I notice the surrounding buildings can see into the field quiet easily, would be worth to get fencing to protect the privacy of the residents at the containers.’

I think the council should continue engaging with the local community and keep them informed about what’s happening in the Pods. There is a stigma around temporary accommodation, clearly shown by the negative press around them, and I think this is a perfect opportunity to open up a dialogue with all communities across Pembrokeshire and tackle this.’

For more updates, photos and videos, please follow our Housing Facebook page

 

 

 

ID: 8025, revised 20/05/2022
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Housing Advice

The Housing Advice Team provides free housing advice. We aim to prevent homelessness by offering advice and assistance to allow you to remain in your own home or we may be able to help secure alternative accommodation by looking at all housing options. A Housing Officer will work with you to try and prevent you from becoming homeless or to relieve your homelessness.

The Housing Advice Team works in accordance with the Housing (Wales) Act 2014

Who do I contact if I have a housing issue?

Pembrokeshire County Council Office hours:

Monday to Friday between the hours of 9am and 5pm

Contact the Duty Housing Officer on 01437 764551 or via e-mail housingadvice@pembrokeshire.gov.uk

If you are going to be homeless that night, please visit the Duty Housing Officer at North Wing, County Hall, Haverfordwest, Pembrokeshire, SA61 1TP.

Outside of Pembrokeshire County Council Office hours

Friday 5pm to 9am on Monday.

Contact the Duty Social Worker from the Out of Hours Team on 03003 332222

What is homelessness?

‘You may be homeless if you’re sleeping rough, don’t have rights to stay where you are or you live in unsuitable housing. Even if you have a roof over your head you can still be homeless.’ (Sheltercymru, 2018)

What situation counts as being homeless?

You don’t have to be sleeping on the streets to be classed as homeless. You might also be legally homeless if you are:

  • Temporarily staying with friends or family
  • Staying in a hostel or bed and breakfast
  • Living in very overcrowded conditions
  • At risk of violence or abuse in your home
  • Living in poor conditions that affect your health
  • Living somewhere that you have no legal right to stay in (e.g. a squat)
  • Living somewhere that you can’t afford to pay for without depriving yourself of basic essentials
  • Forced to live apart from your family, or someone you would normally live with, because your accommodation isn’t suitable. (Sheltercymru, 2018) 

What if I am homeless tonight?

If you are considered to be homeless that night, the duty officer may offer you the following options;

  • Temporary or emergency accommodation subject to a risk assessment being done (this may be either within or outside of Pembrokeshire, depending on individual circumstances)
  • Provide you with information so you can acquire a rough sleeper pack.
  • Mediation with your family/friend/partner/landlord etc. to allow you to stay overnight.

*Please note, this list is not exhaustive and will depend on your circumstances.

What can the Council do to help me with my housing problems?

A Housing Officer may be able to help you with:

  • Filling in a Housing Application form to join the Council’s Housing register. For more information Choice Homes Pembrokeshire 
  • General housing advice, including:
  • Advice about renting privately
  • Advice about renting from the Local Authority or Housing Association
  • Advice about what to do if you are having difficulty paying your mortgage
  •  Mediation with your family, landlord or mortgage company.
  • Signposting to other agencies who may be able to help.
  • Basic legal advice about housing.
  • Basic financial and debt management advice.
  • Referral to the Council’s Private Sector Housing Team for enquiries in relation to validity of notices and also for defects or potential hazards.
  • Making arrangements to attend the Council Offices for an appointment with a Housing Officer, dependent on your individual circumstances.

Who else might be able to help me with a Housing problem?

The following organisations work alongside the Council and the service it has a statutory duty to provide, and may be able to help or support you with your housing problems.

Shelter Cymru  

Opening hours: Monday to Friday from 9:30am – 4pm

Pembrokeshire Care Society

E-mail: pcs@pembrokeshirecaresociety.org.uk

Opening hours: Monday to Friday from 10am- 4pm

PATCH

Email: contact@patchcharity.org.uk or tracy@patchcharity.org.uk

Tel: 01646 699275 Monday, Wednesday and Thursdays from 9am - 2pm

Mob: 07775571431 Monday – Friday from 9am – 4pm 

Opening hours: Monday to Friday 10am – 2pm

Citizens Advice Bureau

Email: advice@pembscab.org

Local Tel: 01437 806070 / National Helpline: 0344 477 2020 

Infoengine 

Homeless or threatened with homelessness

You would need to attend an appointment with a Housing Officer who would help you to fill in a Housing Needs Assessment to assess your housing need – this is a known as Section 62 Assessment as per The Housing (Wales) Act 2014. You can be accompanied to your appointment by a friend, family member, advocate or support worker.

Your Homeless Interview
You have either asked to see a Housing Officer or have made an appointment to see a Housing Officer in relation to your housing situation. We appreciate that you may feel anxious regarding this. This leaflet helps to explain what to expect from this meeting.

What should you expect?
The meeting may take approximately one hour. During this time, the Housing Officer will need to ask you many detailed questions about your situation. These may include personal questions your health, finances, previous and current circumstances and, where appropriate, any criminal record. We have to ask these questions to establish what help, if any, we can give you. It is important that you answer fully and honestly. Interviews may be conducted in an open interview booth. We have limited access to a private booth so please tell the Housing Officer if you would prefer this. Please note that this may increase the time you will be waiting to see a Housing Officer.

If there is anything that you do not wish to discuss, or if you feel uncomfortable with any of the questions asked, please let the Housing Officer know at the time. Please be aware that if you cannot answer questions fully, this may limit the help we are able to give you.

What you should bring with you to the interview?
In order to assist the Housing Officer to have a better understanding of your circumstances, and be able to make a decision more quickly as to what assistance, if any may be given, please bring the following with you to your interview:-

  • Proof of Identification e.g. birth certificate, driving licence, passport etc.
  • Details of your income and expenditure e.g. your last three months bank statements.
  • Details of any medication you or a member of your household has been prescribed e.g. repeat prescription, GP’s letter etc.

If you do not have this information with you at the interview, please discuss this with your Housing Officer and if required this information should be provided as soon as possible following your interview.

What can we do to help?
This will depend on your circumstances. The Housing Officer will be able to give more advice about this when you have discussed your circumstances. Please note any advice given is free of charge, and will be based on the information provided by you. You will also be asked to sign a Declaration that states that the information you have provided to us is correct information and that you have not withheld information or mislead us in relation to your circumstances. Also by signing Declaration you are consenting to the Housing Officer making enquiries, as below, to assist with being able to provide you further advice, and assistance, if appropriate.

What happens after the meeting?
The Housing Officer will make enquiries, including where relevant checks with Department for Work and Pensions, other Council Departments e.g. Social Services, Education, GP’s and other Health Care Professionals, previous and current landlords, credit agencies and other government departments e.g. Probation, Police and also any of your support network e.g. family, friends, carers/support workers etc.

Please note that this is not exhaustive, as it will be dependent on each individual customer’s circumstances. We may also use information held in the public domain, including social media. It is important that you provide any additional information as quickly as possible as a delay may extend the investigation time, or a result in a decision being based on incomplete information. The Housing Officer will then make a decision as to what
assistance, if any, we can provide in accordance with the relevant legislation. You will be notified of this decision in writing 10 working days following your original presentation to the Housing Department in relation to your housing situation. You will be given your Housing Officer’s name. Your Housing Officer may also give you a list of further information that is needed, or a list of things you need
to do.

You will also be given a Housing Advice Pack, which you should read at the earliest opportunity after your interview. If you have any questions about the information provided to you in the Housing Advice Pack please contact your Housing Officer regarding this. If you are unclear about any of the information, please ask the Housing Officer at the start of your meeting

What will my Housing Officer and I do to resolve my Housing problems?

Create a Personal Housing Plan with tasks that you and your Housing Officer will need to do in order to help you find suitable, sustainable and affordable accommodation. This will detail the reasonable steps that you would both need to take in accordance with the relevant legislation. These could include:

  • Searching for properties in the private rented sector.
  • Saving for a bond and/or rent in advance in order to acquire a tenancy.
  • Apply for bond assistance for a suitable property in the PRS.
  • Completing relevant, legally required checks to support a bond application e.g. the landlord/agency MUST be registered with rent Smart Wales.
  •  Ensuring your Housing application is up to date and the correct banding is awarded to reflect your circumstance.
  • Making relevant referrals to supporting agencies.
  • Engaging with support workers and/or agencies.
  • Proactively attempting to find other accommodation, e.g. making relevant bids on your choice homes application.
  • Receiving a written copy of the help you can expect from the Housing Department.
  • Keeping each other updated of any changes in circumstances.

*Please note that this list is not exhaustive and your Personal Housing Plan will be based on your individual circumstances and regularly updated as required.

Homelessness Strategy Action Plan 2019-2023 

 

 

 

ID: 1764, revised 24/01/2022
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Hostel

Hostel Facilities

The hostel provides temporary accommodation for those customers who have approached the Local Authority in relation to a housing need. Please note that this accommodation is provided in accordance with the Housing (Wales) Act 2014, and will be offered to those customers deemed eligible and also subject to a risk assessment. The facilities offered at the Hostel are similar to those you would find in a Hotel or B&B

  • Rooms - We do supply bedding, cutlery, kettle, and fridge. We do not supply toiletries.
  • Communal kitchen - We do supply microwave, toaster, and oven. We do not supply food.
  • Communal lounge – We do have a TV with Freeview and sofas. We do not have Wi-Fi.
  • Communal bathrooms – We do have a shower, bath, toilet and sink. We do not have ensuite bathrooms in our rooms.
  • Laundry Room – We do have washing machines. We do not supply laundry detergents.
  • Computer in foyer – To be used appropriately, not for personal use e.g. social media
  • Access to a hoover

Please note that there are some local organisations who may be able to assist you with some of the aforementioned items, for example PATCH. Please request further information from the Hostel Wardens regarding these organisations.

What do I need to bring to the hostel?

  • I.D for housing benefit e.g. passport, driving license, birth certificate
  • National Insurance number
  • Clothes
  • Toiletries/Laundry detergent
  • Food

Staff will take a photograph of you when you arrive at the hostel. This is for safety purposes. Your photograph will be stored in a locked cupboard and destroyed when you leave.

Please note that if you do not have ID you would be expected to obtain this at your earliest opportunity, and further information on how to obtain this can be requested from the Hostel Wardens and could involve, but not be limited to contacting the Register Office in the area which you were born for a copy of your birth certificate.

Rules of the hostel

As part of your placement at the Hostel you will need to sign and adhere to the terms and conditions of the license arrangement which you will have signed during your initial attendance at the Hostel.

  • One visitor at a time – you are responsible for their actions
  • Residents are not allowed into each other’s rooms
  • Need to get permission before staying away from the Hostel overnight.
  • No alcohol, drugs or weapons permitted
  • Smoking only permitted in designated smoking area
  • If you put a TV in your room, you will need to buy a TV license.
  • Respect other residents and staff – any forms of abuse will not be tolerated
  • No pets allowed
  • Clean up after yourself in your room and communal areas
  • Do not use the hostel for immoral or illegal activity
  • Do not lend money to other residents

If rules aren’t followed, there is a warnings process in place.  Please note that the Hostel Manager will determine the level of warning and also if the non-compliance with Hostel license conditions is deemed significant then you will be asked to vacate the premises immediately, and it may be unlikely that you will be offered any further accommodation by the Local Authority.

Resident’s responsibility

  • Arrange for pets to stay somewhere for the duration of their hostel stay
  • Support yourself and your family or seek support from organisations
  • Clean up after yourself
  • Bid on properties on Choice Homes website
  • Complete actions on Personal Housing Plan
  • Wash own bedding

Staff responsibility

  • Signpost residents to services for help and support
  • Wardens cannot offer advice
  • Provide help with paperwork and admin tasks 

Frequently Asked Questions

Will I get Wi-Fi in the hostel?

No, this is not a service we provide.

Who can I contact out of office hours?

You can phone the Out of Hours Duty Service on 03003 332222

Can I just turn up to the hostel in the evening if I haven’t got anywhere to stay?

It is not a direct access hostel and any placements need to be made through the Housing Advice Team or the Out of Hours duty service.

How do I bid?

Please visit Choice Homes Pembrokeshire or phone 01437 764551 where the Contact Centre can bid on your behalf.

How long is the average stay at the hostel?

There is no average stay. Each case will depend on individual’s circumstances.

Can I lose my place at the hostel?

Yes, if you do not follow the hostel rules or do not engage with your Personal Housing Plan, you risk losing your place.

Is there car parking?

Yes

Is there storage/space for my belongings?

You will need to organise storage for your furniture/belongings. You will be provided with a bed, wardrobe, fridge, table and chair. You will need to bring clothes, toiletries, laundry detergent and food.

What happen if I don’t pick up my stuff when I’ve left the hostel?

We will remove your belongings if you don’t pick them up within 28 days of leaving

Is there a phone I can use?

There is a phone you can use, however this is not for personal calls

Will I have to pay full rent for the hostel if I get a job?

All residents of the Hostel will be required to complete a Housing Benefit form when they arrive at the Hostel. The completed form will then be submitted to the Council’s Revenues Services Department who will then using a means-tested assessment of the amount of Housing Benefit, if any, you will be eligible for. 

Please note that the amount you will need to pay towards the Hostel will be dependent on this assessment and the minimum amount payable is £10.99 per week. 

Useful Links

Choice Homes Pembrokeshire

Bus routes and timetables

 

 

ID: 1765, revised 22/11/2021
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