As homelessness rises, Cardiff City Council cuts funding for homeless shelter

Cardiff’s homeless shelter Wallich lost parts of its annual funding from the Cardiff City Council for the next financial year.

The Wallich in Cardiff houses rough sleepers 24/7 every day of the year.

The charity is now increasingly looking towards private donors. Since it is extremely busy at the moment due to housing evermore people in winter, it cannot provide any direct figures or statements to media outlets or journalists.

“Winter is an extremely busy time for us. We get many enquiries from journalists around this period and as we are a small communications team it is often difficult for us to respond to everyone,” says Abi Street, Communications Officer at The Wallich.

On 19 November, The Wallich stated on its website that it has reached over £26,000 in donations. Its goal is to reach £89,000, but the organisation doesn’t state by when. The Wallich says it needs that amount of money every year to keep its lights on. This could mean that the funding goal is for the year 2020.

Homelessness is a growing issue not just in Cardiff but all of the United Kingdom.

1977 people have been helped by The Wallich in Cardiff from October 2017 to October 2018, a 22% increase compared to figures from the same period of time in 2016-2017. Numbers for the year up to October 2019 are yet to be released by the charity. 84% of homeless people housed by the charity are between the ages of 36 and 50.

In October this year, The Wallich criticised high housing prices in the UK. 94% of rented houses are too expensive for families on housing benefit, according to a report from The Bureau of Investigative Journalism. In a reference to these numbers, Antony Kendall, Director of Operations of The Wallich said:

“It’s deeply concerning that some councils are discharging their duty to support people by sending them into the clearly saturated and unaffordable private rented sector. As a result, we are seeing rising homelessness and increased fear, anxiety and misery among people who need our support. Our support workers report that the roll-out of Universal Credit is having a huge and detrimental impact – rent arrears, loss of tenancies, risk of homelessness.“

An estimated 726 homeless people died in 2018 in England and Wales, a 22% increase from 2017, the Guardian reported in October 2019, citing the ONS.