Two of our Nightshelter residents talk about their experiences of rough sleeping in Cardiff and explain how The Wallich has helped them.
“I lived in a tent for two years. I would pitch it up in and around Cardiff, where ever I could find a space. Then, this one night, some guy came asking if he could stay in it with me and I said no, so he set it on fire when I was still in it. I got out okay but everything I had burned. I lost all my photos and things from my kids. I was devastated.
I am too old now to be sleeping on the streets. Compared to my other options – the Nightshelter is good. I was sharing a room with this other guy and he was alright. We had a few things in common and we made friends quite fast. The staff are a bunch of decent guys, they were really understanding and didn’t judge me on my past.
From my point of view, if I didn’t have the Nightshelter, I’d either have to sleep on the streets or commit a crime so I can go to prison. This is the most important step into sorting your life out, the first step always is. Without it, people would turn to crime, drink and drugs because what else do they have to do? The Nightshelter is a life line for people who hit rock bottom and then they work their way back up. That’s what I’m doing here and that’s what it did for me.”
“Before I got a place here I was staying on the streets and had been for four months. I got given a sleeping bag from Outreach after about one and a half months of sleeping rough. I was able to wash my sleeping bag once a week at one of the hostels which was good because even though I was homeless, I still wanted to be clean. There was a few nights in a row where it rained so much I was soaked through, even through my sleeping bag. It was terrible. I knew I needed to get in somewhere then.
I heard about the Nightshelter through the Breakfast Run. One of the members of staff told me that it was alright in there and a better option compared to being on the streets. So I went and asked if I could be moved there. All I wanted was a place where I could get my head down, get back on my feet so I can get a job and then have my daughter on weekends. She’s my little princess and my world.
Now I’m here I help as much as I can, I do my dishes and my washing. I am so thankful to be here I really do try and show my appreciation as much as I can. If you have good staff, and the Nightshelter does, it brings out the best in people and I think it’s bringing out the best in me.
I actually look forward to coming back here in the nights, knowing I have somewhere safe to stay.”
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