It has provided emergency shelter for more than four thousand people in the last 20 years.
The Wallich is saddened by this, but the evidence on how to end homelessness is progressing and we remain at the cutting edge of innovation. Although the Nightshelter will always have a special place in our hearts, our services must change with the times.
The Wallich lost statutory funding for its Nightshelter in 2015 and has since had to fund the service itself. With the help of a successful Crowdfunder in 2015, and with the support of various trusts, foundations and the general public, the doors have been kept open.
During the Coronavirus pandemic, instead of offering emergency accommodation on a night-by-night basis in shared rooms, the Nightshelter has been housing people more long-term, who would usually be rough sleeping, as part of the drive to keep people indoors and safe during various lockdowns. The capacity of the shelter has decreased from 23 to 11 to accommodate this shift and to comply with safety requirements.
After learning from the way services have adapted during COVID-19 and listening to the evidence from the Homelessness Action Group on how to solve homelessness in Wales, The Wallich is using this opportunity to enhance the standard of accommodation they offer.
The Wallich will be moving away from using shared rooms, which is also in line with the Welsh Housing Standards.
It is estimated that 4,738 people experiencing homelessness or rough sleeping have been supported at the Nightshelter across its 20 years in service.
The staff there have worked tirelessly since the Nightshelter first opened its doors in the year 2000, and throughout the pandemic, to ensure people experiencing homelessness in the capital are supported and safe and given opportunities to move away from rough sleeping.
The Nightshelter building will now be used to house residents from one of The Wallich’s other supported accommodation projects in the capital, continuing its use, helping people experiencing homelessness.
All staff at the project were offered redeployment to other Wallich services. Three staff accepted redundancy.
Those residing at the Nightshelter will be rehoused appropriately and will receive continued support before and after the change.
The Wallich’s 70 plus services across Wales are all funded differently; some via Big Lottery Community Fund Grants, some via Welsh Government funding, and are secure for the length of the contracts set out by funders.
In many cases, The Wallich is currently in conversation with local authorities to bolster or extend current provisions due to the incredible partnership work undertaken across the sector to house people during the pandemic.
Cardiff Council have reviewed their homelessness provision in the city and unfortunately have made changes which means that some of The Wallich’s services will be decommissioned within the next two years.
Whilst change is always difficult, The Wallich made a firm commitment in its business plan for 2020-2025 to transform and innovate services to ensure lasting, sustainable change for people, in line with the best evidence available.
As with the Nightshelter project, The Wallich will ensure positive outcomes for their service users and staff team during this transition.
“We are saddened that such a historic facility, which has helped so many people experiencing homelessness, will no longer be serving the community in the same way. However, we are optimistic about the future.
“We have listened to the best evidence and taken on board the recommendations of the Homelessness Action Group. We feel we can create new services which will serve the community in a different way. We will continue to help get people off the streets and end repeated cycles of homelessness.
“We’d like to use this opportunity to say how much we value the members of our team who have served residents brilliantly and resiliently throughout the years.
“While these changes take place, we will do everything humanly possible to take care of our community and find new opportunities to help people. Our resilience, our determination and our innovation are our solutions.
“With challenge comes opportunity and, in this case, this means less restriction to bring solutions that are truly based on the evidence. Watch this space.”
The Wallich will continue to support people experiencing homelessness in Cardiff through its assertive outreach team, Solutions Service, hostels, Learning Centre and Shoreline Project.