Claire's story. Turned away by her council in Wales.

Fersiwn Cymraeg isod / Welsh version below

Claire sought help from her council after having to leave her mother’s home. They had fallen out and Claire had felt threatened by her mother. When she visited her local authority, Claire was very worried that she would have to stay on the streets if they could not help.

"I had an appointment with a woman, when I went into the room, I thought this is going to be positive, they’re going to help me and they were going to give me somewhere to stay, in a hostel or something."

Going to the council was ‘scary’ and ‘daunting’ and the process involved a lot of form filling. Claire felt the housing officer was suspicious of the reason she was approaching for support. The assessment ended with the housing officer telling Claire that because her mum had not hit her, and she could return to her father’s, she was not in priority need for support.

"It felt like they didn’t believe me because they wanted my mum’s number and everything, just to make sure that I was homeless. That’s when I felt like, well, wait a minute now, why don’t you believe me?"

Claire was given a booklet of information and told to look in there if she wanted alternative accommodation. No explanation of how the application processes might work was given nor what might be affordable for her. Services specific to young people were not highlighted to her either.

“It was so frightening, and I was only 19 years old...it was really daunting and really scary for me. So, when I went in there I was obviously upset and everything. We went through forms and everything and basically, she turned around and said, ‘you’re not priority’.”

Hearing that she was not a priority was hard to take and made her feel very low with nowhere to turn for help. Only after contacting a particular organisation, recommended by a friend’s mother, was Claire able to find accommodation specifically for young homeless people.

"I tell you that hit me ... I thought I’d hit lower than rock bottom to be honest because it just, it just felt like the world was just against me."

Claire was already vulnerable, and the council decision made her feel worse. It felt to her like they wanted to force her back to her mother’s and the difficult circumstances there, rather than explore the reality of her circumstances and what it would mean for her to be turned away without appropriate support or somewhere to stay.

"I felt sad. I felt like was there any point in me coming here? To give a booklet out and tell us that, and say that you’re not priority because you haven’t had experience with violence?"

 

Gofynnodd Claire am gymorth gan ei chyngor ar ôl gorfod gadael cartref ei mam. Roedden nhw wedi cweryla ac roedd Claire wedi teimlo dan fygythiad gan ei mam. Pan ymwelodd â’i hawdurdod lleol, roedd Claire yn poeni’n fawr y byddai’n rhaid iddi aros ar y stryd pe na allent helpu.

"Roedd gen i apwyntiad gyda menyw, pan es i mewn i’r ystafell, roeddwn i’n meddwl bod hyn am fod yn gadarnhaol, maen nhw’n mynd i’m helpu ac roedden nhw’n mynd i roi rhywle i mi aros, mewn hostel neu rywbeth."

Roedd mynd at y cyngor yn ‘frawychus’ ac yn ‘ddychrynllyd’ ac roedd y broses yn cynnwys llawer o lenwi ffurflenni. Teimlai Claire fod y swyddog tai yn amheus o’r rheswm yr oedd hi’n cysylltu am gymorth. Daeth yr asesiad i ben gyda’r swyddog tai yn dweud wrth Claire, gan nad oedd ei mam wedi’i tharo, ac y gallai ddychwelyd at ei thad, nad oedd angen blaenoriaethol am gymorth.

"Roedd yn teimlo fel nad oedden nhw’n fy nghredu gan eu bod nhw eisiau rhif fy mam a phopeth, dim ond i wneud yn siŵr fy mod i’n ddigartref. Dyna pryd y dechreuais deimlo, wel, arhoswch funud nawr, pam nad ydych chi’n fy nghredu i?"

Rhoddwyd llyfryn gwybodaeth i Claire a dywedwyd wrthi am edrych yno os oedd am gael llety arall. Ni roddwyd esboniad o sut y gallai’r prosesau ymgeisio weithio na’r hyn a allai fod yn fforddiadwy iddi. Ni thynnwyd ei sylw ychwaith at wasanaethau sy’n benodol i bobl ifanc.

"Roedd mor frawychus, a dim ond 19 mlwydd oed oeddwn i ... roedd yn frawychus iawn ac yn ddychrynllyd iawn i mi. Felly, pan es i oddi yno, roeddwn i’n amlwg yn ofidus. Fe wnaethon ni fynd drwy ffurflenni a phopeth ac yn y bôn, fe wnaeth hi droi ataf a dweud, ‘ dwyt ti ddim yn flaenoriaeth’."

Roedd clywed nad oedd hi’n flaenoriaeth yn anodd ac fe wnaeth iddi deimlo’n isel iawn heb unman i droi am help. Dim ond ar ôl cysylltu â sefydliad penodol, a argymhellwyd gan fam ffrind, y llwyddodd Claire i ddod o hyd i lety yn benodol ar gyfer pobl ifanc ddigartref.

"Fe wnaeth hynny fy nharo ... Roeddwn i’n meddwl fy mod wedi cyrraedd y gwaelod i fod yn onest oherwydd ei fod yn teimlo fel bod y byd yn fy erbyn."

Roedd Claire eisoes yn agored i niwed, ac fe wnaeth penderfyniad y cyngor iddi deimlo’n waeth. Roedd yn teimlo iddi fel eu bod am ei gorfodi’n ôl at ei mam a’r amgylchiadau anodd yno, yn hytrach nag archwilio realiti ei hamgylchiadau a’r hyn y byddai’n ei olygu iddi gael ei gwrthod heb gymorth priodol na rhywle i aros.

"Roeddwn i’n teimlo’n drist. Roeddwn i’n teimlo a oedd unrhyw bwynt fy mod wedi dod yma? I roi llyfryn allan a dweud hynny wrthym, a dweud nad ydych chi’n flaenoriaeth gan nad ydych chi wedi cael profiad o drais?"

By sharing stories we can change attitudes and build a movement for permanent, positive change. Stand against homelessness and help us end it for good.