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Salvation Army’s Big Purple Bus set to combat homelessness in winter

The Salvation Army’s mobile sanctuary outside City Hall feeds and clothes the homeless nightly

Homelessness has increased by 3% in Wales

Homeless people in Cardiff will receive help from the Salvation Army’s its Bus Project this winter, as homeless numbers rise.

The Bus Project, or the Big Purple Bus, as it is known fondly, is seen outside the streets of City Hall five nights a week, from Sunday to Thursday – standing at attention to help combat the problem.

In 2018, 4547 people experienced homelessness in the city of Cardiff, according to Shelter Cymru, a three percent increase from last year, and the “rough sleepers”, as they are known, increasingly demand for food, clothing and shelter during winters.

“People who come to the Bus Project will receive tailored support and advice to help them break the cycle of homelessness. That may involve, depending on the individual’s unique circumstances, helping them find temporary accommodation for the night, which may lead to them potentially moving to a center where they can receive the help they need to rebuild their lives and get themselves back on track”, says Iwan Roberts, from the Press Office of the Salvation Army Cardiff.

Inside the Bus sits a full kitchen, clothes line, nursing room and consultation office. People who approach the bus for help will be provided hot food, clothing and opportunity to have a bed for the night and get off the streets, with around 30-40 people helped each time.

Depending on the time of year, it often provides bedding and extra warm clothing, which is donated by the public. Salvation Army officers and volunteers from around the city stand next to it, ready to offer advice and support – including services going above and beyond, such as a consultation, or perhaps a physical or mental checkup.

Salvation Army Cardiff has been helping the homeless for years

Previous users of the service have found themselves tracked by another project called “The Gateway”, which makes sure that they are put in the system to be referred to housing such as Lifehouses, where they can undertake various activities and skills to grow in the community and rebuild their lives– and receive more permanent shelter from the cold.

“The project is funded by the Welsh Government, and receives support from the Cardiff Bus, which stores and services the vehicle” says Iwan.

The Bus Project has led to a reduction in homelessness in Cathays and Cardiff over the years, with plans to achieve even higher targets in the upcoming years.