The number of people sleeping rough each night in Cardiff has increased by over 83% between 2014/15 and 2015/16, figures released by The Wallich have revealed.
On average, 23 people were supported by The Wallich each morning after sleeping rough between April 2015 and March 2016.
Even more worryingly, 19 people remained on the street each night during January, braving high winds and heavy rainfall. This compares to eight in January 2015 and just six the previous year.
Our Rough Sleepers Intervention Team (RSIT) known to rough sleepers as the ‘Breakfast Run’, go out every day into the capital at 7am to help get people off the streets as well as serving bacon rolls, hot drinks and offering clean clothing.
The team use this contact to not only offer aid to rough sleepers but provide advice and signpost people on to temporary accommodation. Through their work the team records the number of rough sleepers in Cardiff on a daily basis.
Rough sleeping is extremely dangerous, the life expectancy of someone living on the streets is 47 years old. Rough sleepers are vulnerable to attack, as Darren, one of our service users, found out last year when his tent was set on fire.
Lesley Davies, RSIT Team Leader said:
“I have been involved in the RSIT for a few years and it doesn’t seem that long ago that if we saw 15 people around Cardiff sleeping rough, we looked upon that as being a very busy morning!
Now, if we were to see only 15 people, the team would be wondering why? We need to be aware of those that are not counted, ie, those that hide away in bushes, and on the outskirts of the City Centre that remain unseen. This figure could easily be far more”.
Will Atkinson, Policy and Research Officer said:
“We are extremely concerned with the increased figures, in April this year we recorded the highest ever number of rough sleepers and it’s a rising trend we don’t want to see.
We believe the rise is partly due to increased financial pressures on people and the reality that a 1/3 of the population is one lost pay cheque away from failing to pay the rent. People like you or me who one day lost their jobs and just couldn’t make ends meet.
Wales is leading the way in preventing homelessness but Welsh Government needs to look at innovative ways of getting people who have fallen through the safety net off the streets for good.
Outreach and temporary accommodation services are a sticking plaster in terms of solving rough sleeping, what we need is a long term solution”.
We wouldn’t be able to support our homeless or vulnerable clients without the generosity of the public, visit our fundraising pages www.thewallich.com/do-something to see how you can help support our work.