The homeless man teaching children what it's like to be without a home

A man who found himself homeless has been teaching children what it's like to be without a home.

Craig is currently sleeping on his friend's sofa and is one of 3,200 people relying on friends and relatives to offer them shelter.

He visited Tremains Primary School in Bridgend to talk to the pupils and raise awareness of the problem.

Homelessness can happen to anyone at any point. It can be taken out of your control so the only thing I can say for people who don't want to end up this way is stay in school, get your education, look after your friends and family, take care of the ones you love because one day you're going to need them.

Craig, Homelessness campaigner

The pupils had to imitate what is was like to sleep rough in their playground with cardboard boxes and blankets.

Although it is not a true reflection of living each day on the streets, it helped them become more aware of the issue.

One pupil said: "You must feel very very scared and have a lot of things that are quite scary happen to you and it must be a world of terror and horror for them, a real living nightmare."

Craig also wanted to share with the children that homelessness is not only rough sleeping, it can also be sleeping on someone's sofa or staying somewhere temporarily like a hostel, night shelter or bed & breakfast.

Even if someone has a roof over their head, they can still be homeless.

Craig believes that homelessness in Wales is "out of control" and said "I can name ten people off the top of my head now just in my area that just go from one person to the next, to the next just for somewhere to live."

3,250

households in Wales "sofa surf" on any given night, according to charity Crisis.

A campaign has been launched by the Welsh Government to help raise awareness of hidden homelessness and to signpost help on offer.

People who are experiencing hidden homelessness are more likely to be at risk of exploitation, particularly young people. For example, they might be targeted by people who want to pressurise them into sex or unwaged labour in exchange for a roof over their head.

Credit: ITV Wales

The Welsh Government are hoping to raise awareness of the signs of homelessness which include:

  • They may be having difficulties with their relationships with their parents and close family members.

  • They may be reluctant to go home - spending lots of their time outside; in public places that offer shelter and connection to wifi - for example train stations and cafes; staying late at their education setting or jobs.

  • They may be keeping belongings with them and have problems with keeping clothes clean.

  • They might be asking for help with money and using food banks.

  • They may have lost their job.

  • They may be experiencing physical or mental health problems.

Julie James, AM, urges people to come forward and get advice as early as possible Credit: ITV Wales

"We want people to recognise that if they don't have a safe and secure place to stay where they feel at home, they can keep their belongings and so on then they are probably already homeless or already sliding towards homelessness and we want them to come forward and get advice as early as possible so we can prevent them from sliding down towards rough sleeping."

Julie James, Assembly Member
The pupils imitated what it is like to be homeless in their playground Credit: ITV Wales