Stories from the streets: James' account

James has lived on the streets for more than a decade.

He allowed ITV Cymru Wales to film with him as part of our week-long special coverage on homelessness.

James found himself without a roof over his head 12 years ago after his relationship with his family broke down. His home is now a tent in Bute Park, Cardiff.

He says it still hurts when strangers judge him without knowing anything about him or his situation.

James says strangers make assumptions about the homeless, despite knowing nothing of their story. Credit: ITV Cymru Wales

You get judged every day. People judge you and they just look at you like you're nothing. It's horrible. So, so horrible. Most people don't understand. They just walk past you in the street and think, 'Oh, look at that homeless guy. He's on drugs'. They just try and tarnish you with the same brush. It's so hard to actually speak to people and say, 'No, this is the situation. This is why I'm in this situation'. Some people just don't want to listen.


Without a family to fall back on, James has formed friendships within the homeless community.

He often catches up with fellow rough sleepers when they queue up to receive a hot drink and some food from local charities.

But tragically, over the years, he has also seen many of his friends die on the streets.

James says the streets of Cardiff can be a frightening place for the homeless once darkness falls. Credit: ITV Cymru Wales

Cardiff is renowned for being a vibrant, friendly city.

But when darkness falls, James says the streets can be a frightening place for the homeless and vulnerable.

Sometimes he is too scared to go to sleep at night.

You've got to be always watching, just in case there's people around that want to rob you, attack you... We get drunk enough so we can just fall asleep. And just forget about everything. Wake up the next day and do the same again. I can imagine one day getting out of here. But when? That's the question.


Watch James' story in full here:

Read some of the other stories we've featured here:

See more of ITV Cymru Wales' special coverage on homelessness here.