Pawl's story

Fersiwn Cymraeg isod / Welsh version below

Pawl had been experiencing homelessness for around four years when the pandemic hit. After leaving the army and following a relationship breakdown with his wife he had moved between sofa surfing and sleeping in a tent.

“I basically just lived off the goodwill of friends for about three or four years.”

During this time, he had attempted to access support from the local authority on a number of occasions. Each time he found it difficult to make progress and get the help he needed to access stable accommodation. He found that options for support were closed to him and that the only possibility was being put on the list to bid for social housing – with a warning that it could take years.

“It seems from my point of view that they’re trying to discourage you to go on the housing list. They will just give you reasons not go on the list.”

The engagement he had with Housing Options over the years left him feeling dismissed and not respected, pushing him further from support.

“It was always the same, they treat you as dismissively as you can imagine.”

During this time the rest of Pawl’s life was completely on hold. He had undiagnosed PTSD from his time in the army that was affecting his mental health, he was unable to work, and his relationship with his children deteriorated.

Pawl was sofa surfing at the time the pandemic hit in March 2020. It quickly became apparent that his living situation was not safe.

“Yeah there was no way I could stay, there’s no sofa surfing during a pandemic. How can you go round to people’s houses when they’re trying to social distance from people and you’re homeless like going, oh can I sleep on your couch please?”

At this point Pawl was forced onto the streets and he realised he would need to reach out to the council again. He was housed in a B&B under the Everyone In intervention to accommodate all people rough sleeping during the pandemic. Although Pawl was accommodated in a B&B, he was also told at this point that records showed he didn’t have a local connection to the area and that the council were looking to reconnect him to another local authority as soon as possible. This was a surprise to Pawl as aside from his time in the army he had lived in the current local authority since he was seven.

“My family had maintained an address in [X] and I’d used that as my residential address for the entire time I was in the army. So, I guess I didn’t pay council tax so that’s how I didn’t have a local connection. Because obviously in the army you pay a charge in lieu of council tax so I guess I didn’t register as a person, I don’t know. Being told you don’t belong to a place that you’ve lived for 30 years is pretty tough to listen to.”

Pawl’s time in the army, and the years he had spent sofa surfing, had affected the record of his residence in the area. Pawl had to prove his local connection to the local authority area before he could access ongoing support. Whilst this was ongoing Pawl was housed in a B&B but his anxiety over the uncertainty and risk of being moved to somewhere he didn’t know was rising.

Fortunately for Pawl, with support from local homelessness services his issues with local connection were successfully countered and he was able to push back on the initial decision, and prove that he had lived in the local authority area since he was a child. Despite this he was never fully informed of this change in decision.

“Nobody actually phoned me up and said, oh yeah OK we’ve got all that and we’re fine, we’re happy with that, they just leave you and then nobody calls you, nobody phones you up to say, oh actually you have got a local connection, you can stay there.“

After around three months in the B&B, Pawl was moved to supported housing, and after a further three months he was able to get a one-bedroom social house. During this time, he engaged fully with mental health support for the first time since he left the army and had the help he needed for his PTSD.

“I didn’t even have a doctor until about April, May time, so yeah, I think it was while I was in the B&B and getting all the support worker stuff through [Wallich], Yeah, it was through them that I got contacts – all the support networks and stuff to deal with mental health.”

Instead of being pushed back to the streets, sleeping in his tent or reliant on the kindness of his friends Pawl is looking to the future. From a safe and stable home, he is building his relationships with his children, he is working on his mental health, and is actively looking for work.

 

Mae Pawl wedi bod yn profi digartrefedd ers tua pedair blynedd pan ddaeth y pandemig. Ar ôl gadael y fyddin a’i berthynas gyda’i wraig yn chwalu, roedd wedi symud rhwng syrffio-soffas a chysgu mewn pabell.

“Ro’n i’n byw oddi ar ewyllys da fy ffrindiau am oddeutu tair neu bedair blynedd a dweud y gwir.”

Yn ystod y cyfnod hwn, roedd wedi ceisio cael cefnogaeth gan yr awdurdod lleol sawl tro. Bob amser, roedd yn ei chael hi’n anodd gwneud unrhyw gynnydd a chael y cymorth oedd ei angen arno i gael llety sefydlog. Daeth i’r amlwg bod opsiynau cymorth ar gau iddo, ac mai’r unig bosibilrwydd oedd cael ei roi ar y rhestr i wneud cais am dai cymdeithasol – gyda rhybudd y gallai gymryd blynyddoedd.

“O fy safbwynt i, mae’n ymddangos eu bod yn ceisio eich perswadio i beidio â mynd ar y rhestr dai. Maen nhw jest yn rhoi rhesymau i chi i beidio â mynd ar y rhestr.”

Roedd yr ymgysylltiad a gafodd gydag Opsiynau Tai dros y blynyddoedd yn gwneud iddo deimlo fel eu bod wedi’i anghofio, a ddim yn ei barchu, gan ei wthio ymhellach i ffwrdd o gefnogaeth.

“Roedd yr un peth bob tro, maent yn dy ddiystyru cymaint ag y galli di ddychmygu.”

Yn ystod y cyfnod hwn, roedd gweddill bywyd Pawl ar stop yn llwyr. Roedd ganddo PTSD heb ddiagnosis ers ei gyfnod yn y fyddin oedd yn effeithio ar ei iechyd meddwl, nid oedd yn gallu gweithio, a gwaethygodd ei berthynas gyda’i blant.

Roedd Pawl yn syrffio-soffas pan ddigwyddodd y pandemig ym mis Mawrth 2020. Daeth i’r amlwg yn gyflym nad oedd ei sefyllfa fyw’n ddiogel.

“Ie doedd dim ffordd y gallwn i aros, does dim syrffio-soffas yn ystod pandemig. Sut alli di fynd i dai pobl pan maent yn ceisio cadw pellter cymdeithasol, a ti’n ddigartref, a gofyn, o alla’ i gysgu ar dy soffa plîs?”

Ar y pwynt hwn, cafodd Pawl ei orfodi i fynd allan ar y strydoedd eto a sylweddolodd y byddai angen iddo gysylltu â’r cyngor eto. Cafodd lety mewn gwely a brecwast dan yr ymyrraeth Pawb i Mewn er mwyn rhoi llety i bawb oedd yn cysgu ar y stryd yn ystod y pandemig. Er bod Pawl wedi cael llety mewn cyfleuster gwely a brecwast, cafodd glywed ar y pwynt hwn nad oedd cofnodion yn dangos bod ganddo gysylltiad lleol â’r ardal, a bod y cyngor yn ceisio ei gysylltu gydag awdurdod lleol arall cyn gynted â phosibl. Roedd hyn yn syndod i Pawl, oherwydd heblaw am ei gyfnod yn y fyddin, roedd wedi byw yn yr ardal awdurdod lleol ers iddo fod yn saith oed.

“Roedd fy nheulu wedi cynnal cyfeiriad yn X ac ro’n i wedi defnyddio hwnnw fel fy nghyfeiriad preswyl gydol fy nghyfnod yn y fyddin. Felly, mae’n rhaid am nad oeddwn i’n talu’r dreth gyngor, doedd gen i ddim cysylltiad lleol. Oherwydd yn amlwg yn y fyddin ti’n talu ffi yn lle’r dreth gyngor, felly mae’n rhaid nad oeddwn i wedi fy nghofrestru fel person, dw i’m yn gwybod. Roedd hi’n eithaf anodd clywed nad oeddwn i’n perthyn i rywle yr oeddwn wedi byw yno ers 30 mlynedd.”

Roedd cyfnod Pawl yn y fyddin, a’r blynyddoedd yr oedd wedi’u treulio’n syrffio-soffas wedi effeithio’r cofnod o’i breswylfa yn yr ardal. Roedd yn rhaid i Pawl brofi ei gysylltiad lleol â’r ardal awdurdod lleol cyn y gallai gael mynediad i gefnogaeth barhaus. Yn y cyfamser, roedd gan Pawl lety mewn cyfleuster gwely a brecwast ond roedd ei orbryder a’r ansicrwydd o ran gorfod symud i rywle arall nad oedd yn gyfarwydd iddo’n cynyddu.

Yn ffodus i Pawl, gyda chefnogaeth gan wasanaethau digartrefedd lleol cafodd ei broblemau cysylltiad lleol eu datrys ac roedd yn gallu mynd yn erbyn y penderfyniad gwreiddiol, a phrofi ei fod wedi byw yn yr ardal awdurdod lleol ers pan roedd yn blentyn. Er hyn, ni chafodd wybod yn llawn am y newid penderfyniad hwn.

“Ni wnaeth unrhyw un fy ffonio a dweud, o ie OK mae gennym yr wybodaeth honno i gyd ac rydym yn iawn, mae hynny’n iawn, maent yn eich gadael chi a does neb yn ffonio, does neb yn ffonio i ddweud, o ie mae gen ti gysylltiad lleol, galli di aros yno.”

Ar ôl tua tri mis yn y gwely a brecwast, cafodd Pawl ei symud i lety â chymorth, ac ar ôl tri mis arall llwyddodd i gael tŷ cymdeithasol un ystafell wely. Yn ystod y cyfnod hwn, ymgysylltodd yn llawn gyda chefnogaeth iechyd meddwl am y tro cyntaf ers iddo adael y fyddin, a chafodd y cymorth oedd ei angen arno ar gyfer ei PTSD.

“Doedd gen i ddim meddyg hyd yn oed tan tua mis Ebrill, mis Mai, felly ie, dw i’n meddwl tra fy mod yn y B&B ac yn cael yr holl bethau gweithiwr cymorth drwy [Wallich]. Ie, drwy nhw ges i’r cysylltiadau – yr holl rwydweithiau cefnogaeth a’r pethau’n ymwneud ag iechyd meddwl.”

Yn lle cael ei wthio nôl i’r strydoedd, cysgu yn ei babell neu ddibynnu ar garedigrwydd ei ffrindiau, mae Pawl yn edrych tua’r dyfodol. O gartref diogel a sefydlog, mae’n adeiladu ei berthynas gyda’i blant, yn gweithio ar ei iechyd meddwl ac yn weithredol yn chwilio am waith.

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