Wallich can resolve tenant-landlord problems.
The Wallich and housing charity Shelter have a presence at the council’s housing service at Eastgate, Llanelli.
People needing help are allocated a case worker, and a housing needs assessment and personal housing plan are drawn up.
This housing plan sets out what the council can do to help and what the individual can do - including what they can realistically afford - and it gets reviewed as the process continues.
Paul Sheridan of The Wallich said: “The personal housing plan is a huge step. Everyone knows what the other is doing.”
Miss Parkinson said of the new approach: “It’s about sitting down with a person in far more detail. With the old (housing) act, you could walk in and walk out in a day.
“Now you get an understanding of someone’s needs, and look for solutions. It’s not just the housing - there are usually other things going on in that person’s life.”
Asked if this process was time-consuming, she replied: “Yes, but it stops people coming back round again.”
The council can also provide financial assistance to help people becoming homeless.
Asked how much money can be offered, Jonathan Morgan, the council’s acting head of homes and safer communities, said: “That depends on the circumstances. It’s a case-by-case basis.”
He added: “Our first thought is prevention. Then, can we sustain that person’s accommodation? Then, can we provide them with any alternatives? There are various stages we get to before we trigger an emergency response.”
On the supply side the of the equation, the council is delivering affordable homes by bringing empty properties back into use, managing private rental homes for landlords and building them through an arm’s-length company called Cartrefi Croeso.
Many of those in need of housing in the county are single people, and needs can be complex.
“It’s not just about housing, it’s about the choice of housing,” said Mr Sheridan.
The council is keen to expand its Simple Lettings - or Gosod Syml - venture, which has nearly 200 properties on its books.
Private landlords who commit to the scheme can benefit from guaranteed rent, free gas safety checks and free tenancy agreements – depending on the level of service they sign up to – while tenants helped by the council are assured of good quality accommodation.
The council even offers tenancy training to ensure people they find accommodation for understand their responsibilities.
“People used to be put in bed and breakfasts,” said Councillor Evans. “The (housing) conditions are better now.”
She is keen to recruit more landlords to Simple Lettings, including families who may have inherited a property but are not sure what to do with it.
Most of the council’s temporary accommodation stock is in Llanelli, which generates the highest homelessness demand in Carmarthenshire.
At the sharp end of this demand are volunteers like Gary Glenister, who runs soup kitchen in the town called Sosban Soup, on Old Castle Road.
The Sunday evening service at Y Lle has been running for two-and-ahalf years and attracts, on average 15 to 20 people each week.
Mr Glenister, who is a Welcome Christian Fellowship pastor, said: “Even though there are not that many people on the streets in Llanelli, scratch the surface and you see more of an ‘invisible’ homeless problem - people who are vulnerable, and have intertwining issues like mental health, addictions and poverty.”
Mr Glenister said the council should take credit for its focus on prevention, but said sometimes people did not cope in accommodation provided.
“That’s not a criticism it’s just the system,” he said.
“The council’s homelessness strategy is trying to sort people’s problems out rather than just their short-term needs, so hopefully they will get more appropriate accommodation.”
And Mr Glenister said of the once-a-year rough sleeper count: “If you don’t see anybody on the streets that night, then statistically they don’t exist.”
The council’s homelessness team based at Eastgate offices, Llanelli.