Wales politics

Being homeless at 14 was terrifying, says Bridgend teenager

Daniel Mayne
Image caption Daniel Mayne studied computer science at college and is now looking for a job

When Daniel Mayne found himself homeless at the age of 14 he admits he was "terrified".

Home had become a place where he no longer felt safe after his relationship with his parents broke down.

But now, aged 18, he is looking for a job after finishing college and has found more security after a charity helped him find somewhere to live.

The charity, Llamau, said more needed to be done to stop young people becoming homeless.

It said new Welsh Government funding to tackle the problem was only "part of the solution".

Some £3.4m will be spent supporting 26 accommodation projects, with ministers saying they are supporting schemes to "prevent and solve" the issue.

More than 7,500 young people aged 16 to 25 accessed homelessness services in 2017-18, up 23% on 2015-16.

However, the figure does not include those who chose not to access official services, including so-called "sofa surfers".

Image caption Sam Austin, from Llamau, says funding alone is not the answer

Daniel, from Bridgend, was one of them - he stayed on friends' sofas and with his grandparents after leaving home.

"I never really had a brilliant relationship with my parents and about four years ago, it kind of all went downhill quite badly," he said.

"It just got to a point where I didn't really feel safe in the house anymore."

He described being homeless as a teenager as "probably the most terrifying thing I've experienced".

"Trying to figure out everything yourself and not feel like you had any help or support was very hard," he added,

He was eventually helped by Llamau, which provided him with accommodation and support.

"I couldn't cook at all. So one of the support workers helped teach me how to cook meat and veg and all that, keeping it healthy."

He admitted he was one of the lucky ones to get help: "It's been pretty tough - but I'm doing a lot better."

The Welsh Government funding announced on Wednesday is part of £10m unveiled by previous First Minister Carwyn Jones to end youth homelessness by 2027.

Image caption Minister Julie James says more social housing is being built

Sam Austin, deputy chief executive of Llamau said they welcomed the funding but that this money was only "part of the solution" and there had to be "enough going into prevention and early intervention services so that we actually go to the root causes of homelessness".

Housing Minister Julie James said she was pursuing a "housing-first" approach to provide young people with long-term secure accommodation.

"For young people, insecure housing can mean a future which is bleak, unjust and lacking in opportunity," she said.

"These projects are innovative approaches to preventing and solving youth homelessness, dealing with the causes and ensuring that the right support is in place when it is needed."

Ms James said the government was also working to ensure more houses were built, particularly houses for social rent.

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