SOME people in Gwent are waiting more than a year on council waiting lists to find a home, figures show writes Twm Owen.

In Torfaen the average wait for those on the council’s housing waiting list in 2021 was 18 months – and new figures, covering the period from the start of this year to June, show that this had increased to 21 months during the first half of 2022.

In neighbouring Newport the average wait was 773 days – or two years, one month and 10 days. The wait has increased to 1,011 days – or two years and six weeks – from the start of this year to the end of June.

The figures have been obtained, under the Freedom of Information Act, by the Welsh Conservatives, who say they illustrate the need for more social housing in Wales.

Monmouthshire council has identified a lack of affordable housing in the county as a reason for its spending on temporary accommodation.

The council spent £73,143 on temporary accommodation, such as bed and breakfast, for those in need of housing during the 2021/22 financial year.

A spokesman for the council, which doesn’t provide its own housing, having transferred its stock to a housing association, said it works with social and private landlords and the health board to meet the need for housing in the county.

The spokesman said: “Monmouthshire County Council will never be satisfied that any individual in housing need has to wait a length of time for a permanent home.

“A particular challenge for the council is a current shortage of affordable accommodation in the county. A priority for the council, therefore, is to identify and facilitate access to additional good quality accommodation to meet local housing need.

“The council is also developing a Rapid Rehousing Transition Plan which aims to reduce the time people need to stay in temporary accommodation.”

The average time spent on the housing waiting list in Monmouthshire during 2021 was 13.04 months, with the figure for the first three months of this year being 12.4 months.

In Torfaen, where 25 in every 100 homes are social housing – which, along with Blaneau Gwent, is the highest rate in Wales – the council spent £275,012 on temporary accommodation during 2021/22.

That included £167,295 spent with private landlords and £107,717 on putting indviduals and families up in bed and breakfasts.

A spokesman for the council said during 2021/22 it housed 437 individuals or families in temporary accommodation with “only a quarter of these spending longer than six months” in what was intended to be short term place to stay.

The spokesman said: “Access to additional temporary accommodation has been sourced to prevent costly out of borough placements and to ensure that links to education, employment and support networks can be maintained.”

The council said during the last financial year it provided advice to 198 individuals and families at risk of being made homeless with 98 cases able to remain in their homes and 89 cases found permanent accommodation.

It is also working with private landlords to “widen access to housing” and it has developed “rapid rehousing plans” to prevent homelessness.

Despite the high proportion of social housing in Blaenau Gwent the borough council said in response to the average year long wait for a home: “Ultimately there is a limited supply of affordable housing in Blaenau Gwent.”

In response to the FOI request Torfaen council also stated the average wait includes all applicants, regardless of their need, and the figures are “skewed” by its “choice-based scheme” as some applicants may be rejecting offers or waiting before bidding for a property.

Using the figures provided by 15 of the 22 unitary authorities the Welsh Conservatives said people had been stuck for as long as 17 years on social housing waiting lists.

They identified Caerphilly and Pembrokeshire as having 17 year waits, with the longest in Torfaen being 15 years.

But Torfaen council’s response said that figure is misleading and stated: “The applicant referenced will not have been waiting 15.5 years and would have instead just maintained their registration for a significant period of time before placing bids for advertised properties.”

Welsh Government figures show during 2021-22, the number of new homes started increased by 31 per cent to 5,659 dwellings compared to 4,314 the previous year.

Of those completed 5,273 were built by the private sector with 810 built by registered social landlords and 72 by local authorities.

At the 2021 Senedd election Welsh Labour said it built 20,000 affordable homes from 2016 to 2021 and promised to build a further 20,000 new, “low carbon” homes for social renting.

Housing waiting lists for Gwent, figures released via FOI to the Welsh Conservatives

(Questions asked: How long households, on average, are waiting for social housing in 2022? And how long, on average, households were waiting in 2021?)


January-March 2022: 12.4 months;

2021: 13.04 months.


January 1, 2022-June 8, 2022: 21 months;

2021: 18 months.

Blaenau Gwent:

2022 (no dates specified): 84 days;

2021: 363 days.