Rising above the streets: Cardiff’s battle against homelessness

Cardiff ranks in the top two authorities in Wales with the most rough sleepers, according to a new report: what is being done to tackle this problem?

Homelessness continues to be a rising problem in Wales with many charities and organisations are struggling to keep up as the months grow colder. 

Cardiff remains the epicentre of this problem as many succumb to the cold nights; Richard O’Brien, 56, had been homeless for many years and was a well known character in the city centre, he passed away on the 27th of November in a Burger King door way.

Organisations across Cardiff are trying to provide solutions: Linsday Gray the founder of Caritas Consort, a choir dedicated to supporting charities in Wales, said, ‘I am very supportive of any initiative really for homeless people. Just last week we raised money through our choir, we raised £850 for the Cardiff food bank and obviously a lot of homeless people benefit from that.’

Government statistics reveal the number of people needing emergency or temporary accommodation is increasing, as Cardiff reported the highest number of households assessed as homeless. The rate for Wales has also increased with 91.0 cases of homelessness per 10,000 households.

As the problem grows larger many charities and organisations across Cardiff are dedicated to supporting the homeless. We have provided the locations of some of these groups.

The organisation Invisible Cardiff, who work with Huggard, are also finding innovative ways to help homeless people in Cardiff. They provide training for people affected by homelessness so they can become walking tour guides of their own city. They also operate in other cities in the UK.

John Giles is the walking tour guide in Cardiff, he told Wales Online, ‘I am someone who has a few issues with confidence, speaking to people, and social communications because I am on the autistic spectrum, so those doubts were in my mind at first. But by the end of it I really enjoyed it, my confidence was a lot better and after a few practices I realised I actually could do this.’

Strolling along the city centre streets you are likely to see people resting in doorways, belongings strewn across the cold hard floor and sleeping bags offering the only protection from the plummeting temperatures.

So we asked members of the public about their experiences with homelessness and what they think should be done to help tackle this issue in Cardiff.

The issue of homelessness is a UK wide problem so we looked to other cities across the country to discover how they are tackling this problem. Here are some schemes operating to support homeless people in different big cities across the UK. 

Homelessness in Cardiff continues to be a big problem but, with the help of organisations acting to support our most vulnerable members of society, we can look to a better future. Not just for those in Wales but all over the UK.