Homeless hostel Ty Tom Jones in Swansea has 20 beds. It’s a partnership between several organisations to help support people who are currently homeless, and prepare them for independent living.
During the pandemic, the Welsh Government has made £30m available to tackle homelessness. Charities have been campaigning for resources like these for years.
"What's been really refreshing is that since we've had to lock everything down due to Covid-19 we've just seen the system get out of its own way," said Lindsay Cordery-Bruce, CEO of The Wallich.
"We've seen resources appear that we didn't know we had available. There was no process, no bureaucracy. We needed to get these people safe, and we needed to do it now, and we just did it."
Take a virtual look inside the Ty Tom Jones homeless hostel in Swansea:
Drey Trippett has spent time on the streets and in temporary accommodation. He moved into Ty Tom Jones five weeks ago and says it has helped him to turn his life around. He’s had the support he needs to tackle his mental health problems and get back in contact with his family. Now he’s preparing to move into permanent housing and live independently.
"I just went on a bit of a self-destruct, like a lot of people that end up homeless. I even had thoughts of ending it all," said Drey.
"But since I've come here, the people here are amazing, they've helped me. When I need to talk, they're there to listen. We have little community sessions here; at the end of the week we have a curry night. It's nice to be able to be active and not just sit in a B&B in your own mind. It's like having a family around you. Without that support in place, you're not going to get anywhere."
Drey says he’s grateful for the help he’s received, but he feels frustrated that it’s taken a global crisis to get the help he’s desperately needed for a long time.
“I would never have been able to get anything like this if it wasn't for this pandemic, sadly," he added.
"It should have happened years ago for a lot of people. There are a lot of young difficult people out there who need the help, and places like this get it done. Since I've been here, I've come so far. Without these people I wouldn't have got anywhere. I would still be on the street now."
The charity Llamau supports women and young people experiencing homelessness. Amy - not her real name - found herself with nowhere to live when lockdown began. She had recently separated from her partner, and her parents needed to self-isolate. She and her two-year-old daughter had nowhere to go.
“It was very scary. People were isolating with their families and I was just being upped and moved," Amy said.
"I just want to be able to settle down with my daughter and make it all ok again, make it stable again for her, because this is not what I wanted. I know I was pregnant at a young age, but I never could have imagined myself in the position I'm in now. Because I've always worked, I've always wanted to do it all myself and it's just a very big kick down."
Amy asked us to use a different name to protect her family’s privacy. Llamau found temporary accommodation for Amy and her daughter to live in while she waits for a permanent home. Before lockdown, she was working and looking for a house to buy. Now she is furloughed and worried that it’ll be a long time before she’s able to support herself again.
Llamau has seen a 50 per cent increase in calls to its youth homeless helpline since March, and they’re worried the situation could get worse.
Sam Austin, deputy CEO of Llamau, said: "We're seeing an increase in the number of people that were sofa-surfing at the beginning of lockdown, but are now being asked to leave. And with lockdown, there are so many different pressures on people at the moment. Obviously young people aren't at school or college. That can put a lot of pressure on the family home as well.
"As lockdown eases, we're also really worried about the number of young people coming forward presenting as homeless. We're going into another recession, and we know that a lot of people who have got jobs are going to lose them. That's going to put huge added pressure on families and on young people, and that's actually going to potentially increase the risk of young people becoming homeless.”
At the end of May, the Welsh Government topped up the £10m emergency funding for homelessness with a further £20m, and a ‘phase two’ plan, aimed at helping people transition from the temporary accommodation created during the pandemic into more sustainable, long-term housing options.
Charities have welcomed the funding, and the new way of working together without the obstacles and restrictions they’re used to facing.
But there are calls for this funding, and the will they’ve seen to make a difference, to continue long-term if they have any chance of preventing homelessness returning to the scale we’ve seen in the past.
Sam, from Llamau, said: "I think we really need to make sure that we don't go back to where we were pre-Covid. This is a once-in-a lifetime opportunity to completely reduce the numbers of people that end up sleeping rough, and to do that we have to go back to those prevention and early intervention services and work with people before it gets to crisis point."
Lindsay, from The Wallich, added: "I think that so much has been learned as a result of Covid-19 that as a sector we need to not squander that.
"It's going to take some time, and it's going to take a lot of enthusiasm and drive to make those changes sustainable in the long term. But we do know what it takes to end homelessness - the answers are there. We just need to de-politicise homelessness - this is a shared interest. It doesn't matter what party you align with. This is about human rights and it's about the safety of your fellow man. We've got to solve this problem together."
Watch the full report by ITV Wales' Hannah Gamlin here:
Llamau Youth Homeless Helpline: 0800 328 0292