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Housing crisis: What's going on?

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Nick - Web Team Nick - Web Team | 20:55 UK time, Thursday, 20 December 2007

A homeless man in Wrexham gives an honest and frankly disturbing insight as to what it feels like to be homeless in a radio interview due for broadcast tomorrow on BBC Radio Wales' Jamie and Louise programme [listen online, 9am-noon].

Andrew owns only the clothes on his back and his sleeping bag, hardly enough to keep out the cold when temperatures drop as much as they have tonight.

There has been a lot of debate recently with regards to affordable housing.

But ringing in my ears is the interview with Andrew which I caught whilst my colleague was editing. We're also putting it in this week's podcast [available from 1pm Friday] so you won't have to miss it.

Andrew's interview puts the human face or at least voice on what would otherwise be a story about statistics - and it comes as the Bishop of St Asaph calls on politicians to make housing a top priority.

Referring to the transfer of council housing stock, Rt Rev John Davies used his Christmas message to appeal to housing organisations to provide for the needs of the homeless, people like Andrew, and not just existing tenants.

Having said that, the same tenants and would-be homebuyers have been speaking up on this blog; Mark told us it's just as hard to find an affordable place to rent let alone buy.

This summer we also blogged about a homes shortage in Wales - 40,000 more affordable properties are apparently needed. And then there are the claims that parts of Wrexham is becoming a 'bedsit land' with numbers of multi-occupany homes rising due to the influx of migrant workers.

So what's to be done?

Pressure group Cymuned has been making a stand at Rhostyllen, Wrexham, fighting plans for a housing development on land owned by the National Trust. Cymuned wants to ensure any new homes really are homes4locals and they're determined to make their point [].

And while such properties may help Mark - what about people in Andrew's situation?

Meanwhile, there's another group worried. Without the support of a group like Cymuned, families and pensioners living in council homes on Caia Park, Wrexham, [still Queen's Park to the locals] are wondering if there could be a change of landlord sometime soon. The Caia Park Google Group [you'll need to be a member to view] has had a couple of queries under the headline 'stock transfer' as people seek clarification over rumours. Over in Flintshire, however, the council is already planning on balloting tenants.

Life appears to be just as uncertain for the private homeowner in Wales, according to housing charity

Many households in Wales will face an uncertain Christmas this year because of mortgage arrears and the threat of repossessions. Our work assisting and advising people in mortgage arrears has more than trebled over the past three years and we expect to see an even bigger growth in 2008 as more people come to the end of fixed term deals.

The rise in Wales to over 8,000 court actions by lenders last year has been proportionally higher than the rest of the UK in recent years. This year’s figures are likely to be even higher and we are concerned that this upward trend may continue next year.

Only tonight my feed reader [what's this?] flagged up another new blog relating to Welsh housing, this time it was from Jeff Rees writing under the banner Wales - World Nation. Jeff makes the case for a Housing Fund of Wales, following a model run by the government in Finland.

Have you got any thoughts or answers?

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