'Shocking' new figures demonstrate scale of housing crisis in Wales amidst calls for immediate Welsh Government action

One in three people in Wales are living in unsafe or unaffordable housing with some families forced to choose between paying rent or mortgage payments and buying food, according to a report released by the charity Shelter Cymru.

The charity's research also revealed that around 75,000 adults said they had experienced discrimination when trying to find their current home and felt it was because of their ethnicity, gender, sexual orientation, nationality, religion or disability.

It said the "shocking new figures" demonstrated the scale of the housing crisis facing the Welsh Government.

Ruth Power, chief executive of Shelter Cymru, said: "This research highlights the challenges that so many people in Wales have faced during the pandemic.

"But unfortunately these challenges are not new - they are longstanding problems that need bold and ambitious action to solve.

"Good homes are the foundation of all of our lives.

"They let people go to work every day, without worrying about what they'll come home to.

"They let children thrive in school. 

"They give us the comfort, safety and security that is vital to healthy, happy and productive lives.

"Our research shows the scale and seriousness of the housing emergency in Wales and shows that urgent action is needed."

  • Jennie Bibbings from Shelter Cymru on the housing emergency in Wales

The charity also found that:

  • 1 in 6 people (16%) - around half a million people (504, 000) - say they cannot keep their home warm in winter

  • Over 1 in 10 (13%) - almost half a million people (409,000) - are living in homes that are not structurally sound or have hazards such as faulty wiring or fire risks

  • Just over 1 in 4 people (26%) - equivalent to an estimated 819,000 people - are living in homes with significant damp, mould or condensation problems

  • 1 in 10 people - around 315,000 people - say their current housing situation is harming their mental health, or their family's mental health.

In response to Shelter Cymru's findings a Welsh Government spokesperson said it was planning to build a further 20,000 new low carbon social homes.

A spokesperson said: "In the previous Senedd term, we invested a record £2billion in affordable housing, helping us to meet and exceed our target to deliver 20,000 affordable homes in that time.

"The Renting Homes (Wales) Act 2016 will require all landlords to ensure the properties they rent are fit for human habitation, tackling the poor conditions in some rented properties.

"This will also include a requirement for landlords to ensure all properties have smoke and carbon monoxide alarms and are regularly inspected for electrical safety.

"We are now looking to build a further 20,000 new, low carbon social homes and will be announcing further details shortly."