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What happens when you have nowhere to live? The growing pressure on emergency housing

Credit: PA Images

There are currently thousands of people on waiting lists to move into social housing across Wales.

But for some, waiting is not an option. Councils also have to provide solutions for people who suddenly find themselves homeless.

Arsema was 40 weeks pregnant when her tenancy came to a sudden end. She gave birth just 12 days after moving into Nightingale House - an emergency hostel for families in Cardiff.

She says without the hostel she'd have ended up homeless, "when you're in this situation you're confused. I'd have nowhere to go if I didn't live in this hostel, so that's why I'm here."

Watch Arsema's story here:

The hostel is run by Cadwyn Housing Association. It has 26 rooms, and is almost always full. Claire Keats is a support worker. She says the demand for emergency accommodation is on the rise, "We do now have an emergency room with camp beds which we can make available at very short notice just for one night, and I think that shows how much pressure the council are under to find this emergency accommodation for families."

She says the reasons are complex, "with families in the homeless situation it's not just about a failed tenancy. We're seeing issues to do with mental health, substance misuse, alcohol, parenting issues, child protection issues, domestic violence. We're also seeing more refugee families.

There's so much going on preventing them from being able to remain in their own homes. Without a project like this there would just be nowhere for them to go. We'd be back to a situation where families are being put into B&Bs with no support."

Cadwyn's aim is to support people to be able to live independently. But in Cardiff alone there are 7,761 on the waiting list to move into a permanent social house.

Arsema's been living at the hostel for seven months. She says she's looking forward to moving into a permanent home with her son, but says she'll miss the support and the friends she's made at the hostel when she eventually finds somewhere permanent to live.

"Here we know already each other, we are close to each other, we meet all the time. But when we get the house we will be separated and alone. It will be hard."