THE problem of rising numbers of homeless people in the Arfon area was the topic for a discussion at the Senedd.

Arfon Assembly Member Siân Gwenllian questioned the First Minister Carwyn Jones, in Cardiff, about his efforts in addressing the problem, today, Tuesday, January 29.

Mrs Gwenllian said she was "particularly concerned" at the situation following anecdotal evidence of an increase in rough sleeping in Bangor.

Catrin Wager, one of Bangor’s councillors, recently met with the AM to discuss what could be done, as agencies dealing with the homeless in Bangor are reporting an increase in the numbers of homeless people needing support.

“I’ve noticed an increase myself when I’ve been out and about in Bangor, and people are telling me that they feel there’s been an increase too,” said Cllr Catrin Wager.

“There are people working hard to support the homeless in Bangor. There are two hostels, a mental health drop in and I know that Gwynedd Council is doing its best to house people who find themselves in this situation.

"But people are falling through the net, and we need to work together to ensure that they are supported. I’m pleased that conversations have begun between agencies to develop a homelessness day centre in the city, and pleased to be included in this conversation. We hope that this will be a place where people can access practical, medical and emotional support, offer educational opportunities as well as basic facilities such as showers, laundry/drying, and veterinary support for dogs. It’s early days for plans such as this one, but I hope they see fruition and that we can really make a difference to the lives of people who are facing cold nights on the street.’

The Arfon AM said: “Homelessness is often seen as an urban and big city issue, but I am acutely aware that we have people sleeping rough in Arfon. No part of Wales is immune to this crisis, and I am alarmed to hear of the concerns around an increase in rough sleeping in Bangor."

I fully support Councillor Catrin Wager in her discussions with Bangor homelessness agencies and hope that something can be done quickly in order to offer extra shelter to those who need it.

Concerns for homelessness in Bangor and in many other parts of Wales was the topic of a recent debate in the Senedd.