By Cerian Jones
The number of homeless people in Wales continues to rise every year. A BBC article from February states that an overnight count from November 2017 showed there were 188 individuals on the streets in Cardiff – a 25% increase since 2016. Homelessness has always been an issue in Cardiff, Welsh government figures show that Cardiff has the most rough sleepers in Wales, when compared to Wrexham, Swansea, and Newport among others.
Every year the Student’s Union organise the Student Sleepout, where volunteers raise money to aid homeless people, specifically the youth, because – according to Cardiff Volunteering – over 4,000 young people in Wales have been classified as homeless within the last 18 months. On the 1st of November, this year CU volunteers (you could be one, there’s still time to sign up) will spend a night sleeping rough outside the SU. Each brave volunteer is asked for a donation of £10 (which also covers a t-shirt as well as breakfast), and aim to fundraise £20 to go towards supporting the local projects that Cardiff Volunteering work with.
Most of us will have felt how cold the city gets at night (and that’s with alcohol in our system) and we’ve seen, and more than likely, spoken to and given money to the homeless. Cardiff – like most big cities – is dangerous and scary especially at night, imagining yourself with no phone, no money, no home, and no help is a scary thought. And according to interviews with homeless people the hostels aren’t much safer, as they’re a front line for drugs they are more of a hindrance than a sanctuary.
As individuals we can’t build houses, we can’t end poverty, but an opportunity like this to help is fantastic. If you’ve got a sleeping bag and the willpower to get out there and make a change – this is for you.