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Ending Homelessness, Building Better Futures

Ending Homelessness, Building Better Futures with Llamau

“Every day I would wake up and not know where I was going to sleep that night.”

Imagine you’ve had a long, difficult day. Maybe work has been tough, public transport has been cancelled or you’ve fallen out with a friend. We’ve all been there, and for most of us, our first instinct would be to get home, leave our stress at the door, and relax. Now imagine you have no home to go to. Maybe your house is so full of conflict, abuse, or domestic violence, that it doesn’t feel at all like a home. Imagine the streets are your only respite. You’re alone and don’t know where to go. This scenario is all too common, and is the sort of thing Llamau experience every day.

Every year in Wales, 7,000 young people (16-25) need help with homelessness. Some are forced to sleep on the streets. Often, they are forced to sleep on sofas, on floors, in cars, or with strangers. Every year, this figure goes up. Every year, Llamau’s funding is cut.

Why do so many people end up homeless in the UK? Many young people are homeless because it’s simply not safe to stay at home, or because family life has become too hard. Research shows that traumatic experiences during childhood significantly increase the likelihood of a person becoming homeless. Childhood trauma can also increase a person’s likelihood of developing mental health issues. 93% of homeless young people meet the criteria for 2 or more mental health conditions, and 90% have a diagnosable mental health condition. 25% of the UK homeless population has been in care at some point. This demonstrates a huge gap in both mental health services and care support services.

21 year old Adrian spoke at Llamau’s Ending Homelessness event last week, which appropriately coincided with Mental Health Awareness Week. Adrian had been in foster care from the age of 2, and never had ‘somewhere stable to call home.’ Adrian began to rely on drugs and alcohol when he moved in to his own flat at 17. He felt that his life was ‘out of control,’ and spoke about beginning to feel suicidal. Llamau offered Adrian the chance to move into supported housing and provided him with one-on-one support. Through their ‘Learning 4 Life’ programme, Adrian was supported to complete a CV, secure a work placement, and gain relevant qualifications towards a career in construction. Listening to Adrian speak was humbling and inspiring.

“I still have good days and bad days, but now I feel that I have Llamau and others to turn to for support.”

This person-centred, holistic support is what distinguishes Llamau from other support service. As a values-led organisation, Llamau knows that different people respond differently to different techniques and forms of support – “We don’t put people in to boxes and ask them to fit around us.”

Want to help?

On November 22nd, Llamau are hosting a Sleep Out in Cardiff City Stadium, to raise awareness of youth homelessness and to raise vital funds to eradicate homelessness in Wales. It won’t be easy, but there’ll be plenty of entertainment and refreshments to keep spirits high, and they’ll even wake you up with a hot breakfast! Last year’s Sleep Out raised £60,000. Early Bird tickets are currently available for £20, but you’ll have to be quick this offer ends on June 1 st .

If live music is more your thing, Llamau Ambassador Gina Hurley has organised a fundraising evening in Buffalo Bar, Cardiff, on July 20th . There’ll be live music, an auction and a raffle with more still to be announced. Tickets cost £10 and are available via Just Giving.

Donate to the Youth Homeless Helpline Appeal by texting EYHC18 £5 to 70070

** Mental Health Awareness in Children and Young People

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