Tag Archives: homelessness cardiff

The number of homeless people in Cardiff is on the rise

This is data journalism student Dan Clark’s first in a series of investigative pieces for We Are Cardiff: looking into the number of homeless people in Cardiff.

Photo by Ben Blyth Photography, from his Behind the Streets project

The number of people sleeping rough in Cardiff has increased by 18 per cent from this time last year, according to statistics released by The Wallich homeless charity.

Monitoring of rough sleepers was undertaken by Rough Sleepers Intervention Teams (RSITs) working for the charity.

For those of us who live in Cardiff, the problems surrounding homelessness are obvious. It is almost impossible to walk through the city centre and go more than five minutes before spotting a rough sleeper. From a personal point of view, since moving to the city in 2016, the noticeable increase has been undeniable.

As you can see, the number of rough sleepers being supported is increasing, which has consequences. A Freedom of Information Act request to Cardiff council revealed that between 1 January 2015 – 15 May 2017, a total of 19 homeless people died on Cardiff’s streets.

Cardiff’s problems appear at the national level, with the number of rough sleepers having increased in almost all local authorities over a 12-month period. The data, collected by RSITs and released by the Welsh Government, gives a one night snapshot of those sleeping rough across Wales. The below map shows the year-on-year comparison in individual local authorities: click on it to explore the statistics.

I spoke to George, 32, who is a former factory worker and has been homeless for just over 2 years. “I lost my job and just couldn’t afford the rent. In the end, I had no one else to turn to so ended up on the streets”.

Asked whether he believed that the number of rough sleepers had increased, he answered: “It certainly does seem that way”. George went onto clarify that he couldn’t say for certain if it had in Cardiff specifically, as he often drifted from city to city, and had not been in Cardiff long.

George added that the kindness of charities and the public is always appreciated, however small those gestures may be: “It might not seem like much to normal people, but something as simple as a warm meal or a thick duvet is seen as a luxury to us lot. Something small can help improve your mood and make the day seem a bit brighter”.

On 27 October, the Wallich was lucky enough to partner with mattress retailer Leesa Sleep, who donated 40 brand-new mattresses to two of its Cardiff hostels. International Welsh rugby player George North and World Champion Cyclist Becky James who are ambassadors for the charity also attended the event.

Mike Walmsley is Corporate Fundraising Manager for The Wallich. “We are so grateful to Leesa for this incredible donation and to Becky and George for taking the time to visit our hostel and speak to our residents,” he says. “A lot of our people will have had to ‘make-do’ for a long time with second hand clothes, charity shop furniture and food bank vouchers. Some rough sleepers may not have slept in a bed for months. Having something brand-new that gives someone a good night’s sleep shows a person that they are valued and that they deserve nice things. This has a positive impact in helping someone back on their feet after experiencing homelessness.”

If you’d like to do something to help homeless people in Cardiff this Christmas, we wrote this handy guide:

Dan Clark is currently studying for a Masters in Computational and Data Journalism at Cardiff University. He moved to the city in 2016 and since then has fallen in love with the place. Thanks Dan!

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A little change, please: a film about homelessness in Cardiff

Photojournalist Ben Blyth spent a night sleeping rough, speaking to street homeless people in Cardiff to hear their stories and to find out how they would like to be treated by the public.

Ben talks to us about the process of putting the film. First, if you haven’t seen it …

Here’s what Ben had to say about putting the film together:
“My interest in homelessness has been one that started back in 2014, when I started a project photographing Cardiff’s homeless and attaching quotes to the images from the people in them. However, after another year of studying since, I have realised that I didn’t even touch the tip of the iceberg. So when I was given the opportunity to create a film for one of my final year assignments, I felt that this was the chance to revisit the subject and try to cover it in a way that offers a fairer view on homelessness in Cardiff.
“I began creating this film in October, and had decided that to not go into the subject completely blind so spent two days and a night sleeping rough and begging on the streets of Cardiff. I had originally planned to spend two nights sleeping rough, but to be quite honest, at the time I couldn’t bring myself to do another night. This is partly down to being woken up multiple times in the night by drunk people and then in the early hours, the police woke me to see what was going on. This however was a minor part of the experience, I felt completely lost in a city that I had lived in for two years, a feeling that is very hard to explain, but when there is literally nothing to do or no where to go, its a very confusing feeling. During this experience, I realised very quickly that I would never have any idea of what it’s like to be homeless unless it actually happened to me, this is when I started to talk to homeless people in the city, firstly without a camera, just chatting to them and seeing what they thought of the idea of a film. Most liked the idea, and with that I began filming.
“The main aim of the film was to let the people on the street respond directly to comments often seen online directed at homeless people. These came to my attention even more after my experiment and really angered me, especially when most homeless people don’t have the chance to respond for themselves. The outcome of this is the film, A Little Change, Please. The message I received from most of the people I spoke to on the streets was that, they would much prefer someone to sit and talk to them for a few minutes than have a little bit of change thrown at them. Yes, the money and food is important, but what is more important is that they are made to feel like people, this can be so much more important than a couple of coins. From the response so far it seems to have changed quite a few opinions, and I feel this is important. No one individual can stop homelessness, but if everyone makes a little change to the way they see them or treat them then the bigger change has more of a chance of happening.”
Ben has done some other photography for us too:

Follow Ben’s work: Ben Blyth website / Ben’s Facebook / Ben’s Instagram

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Help homeless people in Cardiff: Christmas 2014 edition

If you live anywhere south of Cardiff Central station, you may have seen the Huggard Centre, that sits at the top of Dumballs Road. Huggard is a Cardiff-based charity tackling homelessness and seeking to overcome the problems and barriers that force individuals to sleep rough on our streets.

huggard

That’s a big deal, right? Now, it’s Christmas. Whether you were one of those people battering others out the way for a cut price TV on Black Friday or not, hopefully you aren’t going to have to spend Christmas in the cold, sleeping on the street.

If you’re fortunate enough to have a roof over your head, and probably give and receive way more than you or your loved ones need this Christmas, how about giving something to those who have not?

This Christmas, while you’re heading to town and stocking up on bits and pieces for your family, could you maybe fill a couple of stockings with sundries and essentials for homeless and vulnerable people?

The Huggard Centre is looking for:

– toiletries, male and female
– disposable razors
– socks
– underwear, male and female
– scarves
– gloves

Also, stocking fillers! Things like:

– chocolates
– sweets
– books

Just think about having no family, and no friends to support you at Christmas. Could you provide a little Christmas cheer for someone less fortunate?

If it’s logistically impossible for you to drop anything off there, could you maybe arrange a raffle, or ask friends for donations this Christmas? If so, you can donate to Huggard’s Just Giving page.

Huggard’s services focus around our day centre open 365 days of the year, a 20 bed hostel with additional emergency spaces, 14 shared houses with tenant support that accommodate 52 clients. In extreme weather conditions they also open their day centre at night, to provide shelter for people who would otherwise be forced to sleep rough.

Being a homeless person sucks. If everyone in this city donated a Christmas stocking full of essentials, imagine how much Christmas cheer we could bring!

If you can pull together some extra Christmas gifts this Christmas, you can drop them off to the Huggard Centre on Hansen Street, just behind Cardiff Central Station (CF10 5DW). Tel: 029 2064 2000, or post@huggard.org.uk.

Alternatively, you can contact them on their Facebook page – they reply to comments, and are super grateful for any help they can get: Huggard Centre Facebook

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