Picture this. It’s getting dark. Offices are shut. The streets are getting quieter. You’re 16 and today you were thrown out by your parents. You’ve tried contacting your friends, but they don’t have anywhere you can sleep. You’re alone and don’t know where to go.
Terrifying, isn’t it? For thousands of young people in Wales, this is their reality.
Last year, 76% of the young people we supported told us that, when they first became homeless, they didn't know where to turn for help. We want to change that.
The time immediately after a young person becomes homeless is critical. Without access to support and advice, many have no choice but to make an impulsive and potentially dangerous decision about where to sleep that night.
The more time that passes, as the generosity of friends and family runs out, the more dangerous these decisions are likely to become.
If young people knew that they could call one number for free and get help to find somewhere secure to stay that night, imagine how much safer they’d feel. Imagine how much safer they’d be.
With your support, we can launch the first out-of-hours helpline in Wales to provide advice and support to young people through the night and on weekends – times when there isn’t any other help available and they are likely to be most in need of help.
Corey was just 15 years old when he became homeless. Alone, and with nowhere to go, Corey had no option but to sleep on a shop roof in his local town centre.
'During the day, it felt like I wasn't homeless and I acted as though I wasn't. Then the night would come, and it would be terrifying. It was dark and cold and I never knew who was going to be around.'
When Corey first became homeless, he had no idea that charities like Llamau existed. His situation changed one day, thanks to a chance encounter with a patrolling police community support officer who told him where he needed to go for help.
Corey has now been living in a Llamau project house for a year. Every day, he is developing skills that will allow him to build an independent future for himself.
'Llamau staff helped me to claim benefits and also helped me to attend College. I’m now in my 2nd year of College doing Music, and Llamau also got me a grant for a new guitar.'
'Things are looking up, and I am looking forward to moving on.'
Corey's chance encounter with a police community support officer meant that he was able to get the support he needed. Yet, for thousands of young people across the UK in situations similar to Corey's, they are facing homelessness alone, afraid and with nowhere to turn for help.
What The Money Will Be Used For
Research estimates that each year across Wales 7000 people aged 16 - 24 ask for help with homelessness, but there is currently no helpline support available over the night and on weekends. That leaves 5,840 hours each year in which young people facing homelessness are left alone, afraid and without anywhere to turn.
Llamau plans to launch a Wales-wide freephone helpline; offering vital out-of-hours support and advice to young people who find themselves without a safe place to spend the night.
The helpline will be run by highly trained Llamau staff and volunteers Monday - Friday, 5pm - 9am and 24-hours over the weekend. They will provide at-risk young people information on where to access safe temporary accommodation and offer advice on how to access support.
For a person on the streets, every hour can feel like a lifetime. By launching the helpline, we will be providing somewhere they can turn to for help any hour of the day.
Our initial target of £5000 is enough to run the helpline for one month. Once this target is reached, we can work towards raising the £60000 needed to run the helpline for one year.
A donation of just £10.32 is enough to run the helpline for one hour - which could be the difference for one person between a safe place to stay or a night on the streets.
About End Youth Homelessness Cymru
Llamau is proud to be leading the End Youth Homelessness Cymru (EYHC) campaign in partnership with other homelessness charities in Wales. This ambitious venture, which launched in 2017, aims to see an end to youth homelessness in Wales within ten years and brings together politicians, business leaders, statutory partners, local authorities and charity activists to tackle the root causes of youth homelessness. The campaign is also supported by Hollywood actor Michael Sheen and Wales’ First Minister, Carwyn Jones.
Llamau is a charity that works with some of the most vulnerable people in Wales. For over 30 years, we have been committed to our mission that no young person should ever have to experience homelessness.
For a young person experiencing homelessness, holding down a job or remaining in education can be incredibly difficult. Without intervention and support, this can lead them down a path of social exclusion which will follow them through to adult life.
Every day, the young people we work with prove that, with the right support, people who have experienced homelessness can achieve amazing things.