What does it mean to be homeless in Wales today?

Currently in Wales, there are around 9,000 people who are homeless, living in temporary accommodation. This includes around 2,600 children. 

To many people, the idea of being homeless is synonymous with rough sleeping and living on the streets. While unfortunately there are still people pushed into doing this in Wales, this doesn’t paint a true picture of what it’s like to be homeless.

There are many people living in “hidden homelessness” – where they sofa surf, live in vehicles or live in temporary accommodation. For many people, these options are simply not suitable and stop many people from living healthy, happy and productive lives.

For everyone who is pushed into homelessness many more come within days or even hours of losing a place to call home.  It is often the case that it is only down to the hard work of council homelessness services and other organisations such as Shelter Cymru, that these people are able to avoid being pushed into homelessness.  

People become homeless for many different reasons, many times for reasons outside of their control.

It’s complicated, and it differs from person to person. But there are two main types of reason why people become homeless:

  • Problems in the person’s own life – such as physical or mental health conditions, relationship breakdown;
  • Problems in the system – such as the rising cost of housing, the poverty trap, and welfare benefit cuts brought about by the Government.

Since our creation in 1981, Shelter Cymru has seen the housing emergency in Wales play a bigger role in creating homelessness. There aren’t enough homes that are truly affordable and this makes housing more expensive for all of us.

Homelessness can happen to anyone.  

You’d be surprised. At Shelter Cymru we see people from all walks of life at risk of losing their home and having to sofa surf, sleep in vehicles or face going out on the streets.  
The fight against homelessness is a fight for everyone.  

Start today by joining the fight for home, because home is everything.  We will keep you up to date with what is going on across Shelter Cymru and let you know of ways you can help.