Who better to help people experiencing homelessness than those who’ve experienced it themselves
Cardiff’s Rough Sleeping Peer Mentor Team is a collaborative project between The Wallich and Cardiff Council.
The team does assertive outreach with professionals in Cardiff to help people on the streets engage with the services available to them.
We asked the Rough Sleeping Peer Mentor Team how their unique homeless experiences help other people and about their favourite part of outreach work. Meet the team…
“I’ve suffered for years with mental health and drug addiction.
When I think of me now and my journey, I think of the word ‘resilience’ – I like that word.
I thought of myself more negatively before but now I know that I won’t give up because my children – aka my girls – I know they’re looking up to me.
I have a lot to give to this job and helping other people. What I’ve been through means I can help people on the streets in a different, new way. I love it.”
“I have experience of living on the streets for five years in Bristol and having an addiction. This means I can empathise with people.
While I’ve been a peer mentor, I’ve been asked by people on the streets, ‘What do you know about it?’ and I’m happy to tell them.
I’m not showing off when I tell people about being homeless – I’m not proud of it. But I am proud of where I am now and I’m in a good place.
My favourite part of my job is being able to engage with people and show with my story that other people can get out of it too.
It makes you feel really good when you see people getting into accommodation or work after you’ve helped them.”
“I went through some awful experiences and I was completely broken down.
The Wallich gave me the courage to carry on going but now I’m the one making sure that other people have the courage to move forward.
Because of what I went through, I know how to signpost people; I know how to give them skills to overcome any obstacles in life.
Last week, we re-homed two ladies. I’m working with them to build a road to recovery like myself, helping to rebuild mine and their lives to make our children proud.”
“I’ve battled with addiction, homelessness and crime myself over the years.
My experiences make me perfect for this job because I can empathise with people and I know what they need because I’ve been there myself.
I understand our clients’ psyche and I’m good at calming any situations down because I know what they’ve been through and most of them know that about me.
I have a fairly laid back approach which I think is important to the role.
I love helping people, it’s not about being paid to do this – it’s about getting results.”