Criccieth mum speaks of 'desperation' at finding house for her and three-year-old son

  • Watch the full report by Sion Jenkins

A young mother who left home at 18 has spoken of her desperation to have a "stable home" for her and her son after waiting two years on the council housing list.

It comes as the Welsh Government admitted it is "increasingly" likely it will miss its target to build 20,000 new social homes in the next three years.

Housing minister Julie James blamed global crises, such as the Covid-19 pandemic which resulted in increasing costs and a dip in production. 

Meanwhile, reveal there are currently 90,000 households on the social housing waiting list in Wales. 

The Welsh Government want to build 20,000 low carbon homes by 2026

Meanwhile, 9,000 people were in temporary accommodation in Wales in November 2022, an increase of over 4,000 people compared to the last two years.

Speaking with S4C’s current affairs programme Y Byd ar Bedwar, 20-year-old Bethany Doughty from Criccieth in Gwynedd said she wants a home that her son could have his friends over.

Bethany left home at 18 following a difficult childhood and said she hasn't been able to afford or find a suitable and stable home since then.

She splits her time between her partner’s parent’s house, and her grandparents house, where she cooks and washes Oliver’s clothes. 

Bethany said her and her son "don't know where they're going half the time" as she waits for a council house

With an income of just over £500 a month, she said she is unable to afford to rent privately in Criccieth.

“I need a stable home for my little boy. We don’t know where we’re going half the time.

“A home would change our lives.

"Oliver could have his friends over. He couldn’t even have a proper birthday party because it’s expensive to do something in the hall, and if I wanted to do something small in the house, I haven’t got one to do so.”

Oliver, three, is one of thousands of children in Wales currently homeless or at risk of homelessness.

Bethany was offered a house in Blaenau Ffestiniog by the council in autumn 2022, half an hour away from her work and Oliver’s school in Criccieth which Bethany said was not suitable.

“If I moved to Blaenau I’d be a 45 minute bus journey away from my work and Oliver’s school. And I’d be away from my family as paying for childcare is expensive.” 

Oliver, who is three, is one of thousands of children in Wales currently homeless or at risk of homelessness. 

“Oliver understands what’s going on now,” Bethany explains. “He comes home from school and tells me ‘I built a house for you today mam’.” 

In Gwynedd where Bethany lives, there are over 3,000 households waiting for a social house, and the council spends around £6 million per year on placing people in temporary accommodation. 

Bethany believes the council should build more social homes, instead of paying to keep people in temporary accommodation, such as B&B’s and hotels. 

Gwynedd Council said it has seen an increase in homelessness, and that there are less social homes than there is of demand, which means people spend longer waiting than the council would hope. It said it is working to increase social housing stock. 

Julie James said the government must "keep the level of ambition up"

Throughout Wales, there are 90,000 households waiting for a social home. That figure has increased by almost 40% since 2018. 

The Welsh Government has set a target to build 20,000 new low carbon social homes by 2026. 

Speaking to the programme, the housing minister, Julie James admitted there were not enough homes for people to move into. 

She added that a number of global crises had impacted their ability to meet their 20,000 new social homes target, such as the Covid-19 pandemic.

“We’ve had a dip this year,” she explained.

“This is still the third highest year on record and although it’s disappointing it’s not as high as last year. But what we’re seeing is the Covid dip because we know that the start rate dropped off at the beginning of Covid and the completion rate now is reflecting that.” 

Asked whether the government should be more realistic with their targets, she said the government must “keep the level of ambition up".

  • Watch Y Byd ar Bedwar on Monday at 8pm on S4C, and catch up on S4C Clic and BBC iPlayer.