Wales politics

Councils should give homeless in Wales jobs, says charity

Picture of homeless person on a street

Homeless people should be given jobs by councils and government bodies in Wales to help get them off the streets, a charity has said.

Texan city, Fort Worth, in the United Sates, has employed two rough sleepers to clean its streets.

The Wallich, which supports homeless people across Wales, said the idea was worth exploring here.

But the Welsh Government ruled out employing them to pick litter, saying it was focused on securing housing.

There were almost 350 people sleeping rough across Wales in 2017, according to official figures - an increase on the previous year.

Sian David, from The Wallich - where 17% of the workforce have experienced living on the streets - said getting homeless people into work was vital for long term stability.

She told BBC Wales' Sunday Politics Wales programme that public bodies should lead by example and look at employing homeless people.

"I would really encourage anybody, whether that's local authority, a government body or another third sector or private business to look at their workforce, look to see where there could be opportunity to bring people into work who may have experienced homelessness," she said.


Image caption Dee Samuel from Cardiff is now hoping to inspire homeless people with her story

Work 'helps you get back on your feet'

Dee Samuel from Cardiff spent five months living on the streets in Cardiff after she left the home she shared with her partner.

Since 2016 she has worked for The Wallich as an office cleaner.

"It helps you get back on your feet, it gives you structure and stability, and we all want to be stable in our lives," she said.

Ms Samuel is now helping support others who are sleeping on the streets.

"It helps me give something back and, hopefully, inspire other people that they can do it too, that they can achieve what I have achieved, and am still achieving," she said.


Image caption Michael said there were barriers preventing homeless people getting into work

But out on the streets of Cardiff some homeless people told BBC Wales they found it difficult to contemplate looking for work and there were barriers and preconceptions which stopped them getting jobs.

Originally from Dublin, Michael, who did not want to give his last name, has been living on the streets, on and off, for about four years.

He said: "I got an interview a while back with a recruitment agency. I got the job, but I was told because of my connection with the homeless community, a lot of people weren't comfortable.

"You have some strong lads in the doorways who've had many years of experience in many industries, they are a benefit to Welsh industry."

The Welsh Government said its priority was to secure safe and secure housing for those at risk of homelessness through its Housing First project which provides people with help.

"This support includes access to education, training and apprenticeship programmes," a spokesman said.

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