AN INNOVATIVE project helping get homeless people off the streets in Newport has been hailed in the Welsh Assembly.

In February charity Amazing Grace Spaces opened two sleeping pods, which can be used by people who would otherwise be sleeping on the streets, in the centre of Newport.

And the scheme, which has reportedly helped get at least six people off the streets, has since received worldwide attention and acclaim - with an article on the Argus website read hundreds of thousands of times by readers across the world.


South Wales Argus:

South Wales Argus:

The homeless pods

And, speaking in the Assembly this week, South Wales East AM Mohammad Asghar hailed the project.

Addressing first minister Mark Drakeford, the Conservative AM said: "Do you agree, first minister, that these pods provide an innovative solution that has helped to save lives in Newport, and they should be provided for those homeless people, who, for whatever reason, do not want to use hostels?

South Wales Argus:

Mohammad Asghar

"We've got nearly 2,000 homeless people in Wales at the moment - just under 2,000 - so we have to do something to accommodate them."

Replying Mr Drakeford said, while he was favour of anything which cuts homelessness, he believed getting rough sleepers into permanent homes should be his government's priority.

"As a government, we are committed to innovative approaches to tackling the problem of homelessness," he said. "But the route of homelessness is the need to provide more permanent homes across Wales.

"And, while innovative solutions may help in the here and now, a long-term answer to tackling the housing problems that we face across the nation are more permanent homes, investment in those new homes, protecting our social housing stock, and making sure that every family has a decent home in which they can thrive."

The pods cost £5,500 each to make and provide access to a bed, light, toilet and phone charger.

Potential users are told that the pods are for short-term use only.

Newport East AM John Griffiths also spoke out about the issue.

He said: "Wales has suffered UK Government austerity for some nine years now, and its cumulative impact on our communities, and the public services we rely on, is more and more damaging year on year.

South Wales Argus:

Newport East AM John Griffiths

"Queues at food banks and people sleeping rough in tents and doorways show the misery caused.

"Many of my constituents are shocked and angry that this is the state of the nation when the UK is still one of the biggest economies in the world."

The first minister replied £20 million is being invested into cutting homelessness, both through getting people into homes and providing the support services people need.

For more information on homeless pods scheme visit