Man begging with a couple of dogs

A new report published using data from The Wallich Cardiff Rough Sleepers Intervention Team (RSIT) has found an alarming increase in people sleeping rough in the city centre over the past two years.

The Wallich Rough Sleepers Intervention Team provide hot food and drink, humanitarian aid, advice, referrals and routes into accommodation for street homeless people. The service is a vital safety net for those sleeping rough who are either ineligible for, or too vulnerable to enter, accommodation provided by the Council.

The team, run by staff members and volunteers, goes out onto the streets of Cardiff seven mornings a week to locate and support people sleeping rough. Along with hot food and drink the team members provide emergency items of clothing and sleeping equipment as well as advice and assistance in accessing services to help those living on the streets into accommodation.

Rough sleeping, especially during the winter months, can be extremely dangerous. Constant exposure to cold and wet weather can lead to illness and even death for those living on the streets. Between November and March, cold weather provision is provided by Cardiff Council and other organisations to give rough sleepers somewhere warm to spend the night. These extra beds are vital to prevent people from having to spend the night in sub-zero temperatures but we are continuing to see a worrying amount of people still having to sleep rough this November with 31 people per day being supported on average during the first fortnight.

Antonia Watson, Chief Executive of The Wallich said;

“This rise in rough sleeping has coincided with significant pressure on Welsh Government and Local Authority funding, which has had a knock-on effect on the funding we receive to carry out our vital work supporting vulnerable people.

The findings of this report are very worrying, particularly in the face of potential further funding cuts in 2016/2017.  The Wallich is committed to looking for innovative ways of dealing with increased need, with fewer resources and we will continue to work tirelessly to help those who need our support.”

Key Findings:

  • Numbers of people supported per day increased from 12 in October 2013, to 17 in October 2014, to 28 in October 2015.
  • Numbers of rough sleepers needing support in Cardiff per day increased 64% between two 12 month periods (October 2013-September 2014 and October 2014-September 2015)
  • During the first two weeks in November 2015 the RSIT supported an average of 31 people per day.

To download a copy of the full report, click here: Cardiff Rough Sleeping Report

Update: To support rough sleepers across Wales, please consider donating to our Winter Appeal.