Emergency housing causes a stir among Butetown residents

Emergency housing made from shipping containers for the homeless has sparked controversy among residents in Butetown.

Butetown residents have expressed their concern about new emergency housing for homeless families.

The houses built from shipping containers have been built on the former PDSA site in Bute Street, owned by Cardiff Council and serve as the temporary accommodation for homeless people.

However, local residents think it would disturb their daily life in the community.

“I think they are not happy with it, because it brings many homeless people here. They take drugs. Our children are around the place. We will fight them,” says retailer Daniel Micauly, 26.

A retailer, Daniel Micauly, 26

A former resident, Safiya moved away six months ago. She thinks the area has being disturbed by homeless people over the last two years.

“Butetown used to be very safe place. It’s a multi-cultural community. People are from Mideast, China and Somalia… they helped each other, but now, there is lots of homeless people, they beg and ask money everyday all over the place right,” says Safiya. 

A former Butetown resident, Safiya, 37

Oppositely, a local mum, Kellie Jones is optimistic. She was once homeless, fortunately, her friend helped her keep off the streets.

“It’s a good idea. People come here to plan houses for homeless people and settle them down. Even if they would take drugs, I think they need to stay somewhere, and they need people to take care of them,” says Kellie.

A local mum, Kellie Jones, 40

She argues that they just need more support. “Housing a lot of people in the same area has some problems. They definitely need some psychological evaluation and support to help them to come off drugs, if they depend on drugs or alcohol.

“I think the community need to provide kind of service to support people in the accommodation, and taking on their responsibility,” she says.

Her concerns are reasonable. Numerous studies demonstrate that homeless people are more likely to suffer from chronic medical conditions and complications due to housing instability.

More than 4000 homeless people asked help to the Cardiff council last year. Every month 400 new households are added to Cardiff council’s social housing waiting list.

It is a challenge to keep it balance between residents and homelessness. However, it is also essential for people, communities, local people, the government and business, to work together to help homeless people out of the woods.

“Living in a whole day on the street is horrible, that’s why they take drugs to escape the bad reality. So giving them a shelter is really hopeful. Isn’t it?” Kellie Jones said smilingly.