Cardiff has been identified as one of the worst places in the UK for homeless deaths.
The figures, released by the Office for National Statistics (ONS), estimate that there were 24 deaths in the Welsh capital alone during the five year period between 2013 and 2018.
Cardiff ranked 26th worst in the UK for this problem, although the ONS added that the method used provides a robust but conservative estimate, so the real numbers may still be higher.
CJS News spoke to Donna, a 35 year old homeless woman from Cardiff, who says there needs to be greater support for people like her to integrate them back into society.
“They need to get more temporary accommodation, i.e. flats, so people like myself who’ve been in hostels for over a year can move into them and starting getting back into society properly.
“Then, the people on the streets can move into the homeless hostels. Problem solved.”
The figures come as it was announced that Welsh-born Hollywood star Michael Sheen has helped set up Wales’ first national out of hours helpline for homeless people.
Lindsay Cordery-Bruce, chief executive of homeless charity The Wallich, said: “Every death of a person experiencing homelessness is a tragedy.
“The causes of these tragic deaths strongly highlight the need for a trauma informed, psychological approach to supporting vulnerable people and an emphasis on harm reduction, not criminalisation. This is a time for kindness and compassion, not judgement.
A spokesperson for Cardiff Council said:
“Sadly, many of the individuals sleeping rough in the city choose not to access services because of their very complex needs and chaotic lifestyles. Homelessness can often be as much about health issues as housing issues. In these cases, our outreach team try to work with individuals on the streets every day to offer support and continually encourage them into services where they can begin to turn their lives around.
“Helping the homeless is a priority for the Council and we want to reiterate that there is no need to sleep rough in Cardiff as a wide range of accommodation is available.
“Cardiff, like other cities in the UK, has seen rough sleeping figures rise but this Council is determined to do everything in its power to help people.”