We Must Act to End Homelessness Now.
If Not Now, Then When?
A message from Frances Beecher, Chief Executive of Llamau
This year has probably been one of the most challenging for anyone reading this, and it has undoubtedly been the most challenging in Llamau’s history.
I don’t think any of us could have predicted just how much our lives would have been turned upside down in the last eight months, and everyone at Llamau has had to adapt quickly. I’ve always been both proud and inspired by my Llamau colleagues, but I’ve been in awe of the way my colleagues have reacted to the pandemic – putting the people we are privileged to support first and through their determination and dedication ensuring our front line and essential services were there when people desperately needed them. Someone wiser than me said that the Pandemic has tested organisations’ culture, values and its people. This is so true and I’m so proud that Llamau has held firm and fast to our culture and values.
You’d be forgiven for thinking that this year, of all years, would be the year where there would be less to celebrate, less positivity. And yet, in spite of the huge range of challenges we’ve faced as an organisation, there is still so much to celebrate. From opening new services to ensure we didn’t let down those that needed us, to completely adapting the way we engaged with some of the most vulnerable and disadvantaged people in Wales, Llamau has had a productive year that is one to be proud of. I hope this year’s Impact Report will give you a flavour of just how much we’ve achieved as an organisation. The effort of each and every one of my colleagues cannot be underestimated in this achievement, and that is why it is they that are leading the celebrations throughout this year’s report.
As always, and yet again even more so this year, I have been inspired, moved, enthused by the achievements of the people we, at Llamau, are so privileged to support.
Any of you reading this have undoubtedly faced huge challenges as a result of the pandemic, but imagine adding to those challenges, the fear and helplessness of not knowing where you would be spending the night, or having your home which should be a place of safety become a place of danger and abuse. The challenges faced by the most vulnerable and disadvantaged in Wales have been huge – even bigger than most of us can imagine. And yet, they have still not stopped dreaming, not stopped believing and not stopped striving to build the future they want for themselves. And Llamau has not stopped believing in them and walking alongside to support them to fulfil those hopes and dreams in any way we can.
It is because of their belief and their dreams, that I am determined to see this global pandemic as an opportunity to deliver real change in Wales. Yes, we could think that the pandemic has made it too challenging and too difficult to focus on ending homelessness for good. But it’s the opposite. This pandemic has shown we can end homelessness if we decide we must, and I firmly believe that this pandemic should act as a catalyst for change.
Covid has highlighted even further the inequalities that have been apparent to so many of us for so long, and it has caused us to speak about Building Back Better.
It is therefore so clear to me that we have to focus on what needs to be done to end homelessness for good. That doesn’t simply mean providing temporary accommodation which removes the issue of rough sleeping for a short time. It means addressing the deep seated inequalities that have caused, and continue to cause, such catastrophic rises in homelessness. We know what we should do, we know we can do it, to me it is morally reprehensible not to now push forward.
We must not use Covid as an excuse for why we are not able to change. We must use it as a clear reason for why we simply have to change. If we don’t accept the need to change now, then when? There is no failure except in no longer trying and I can promise you that with your help and support Llamau will never give up and we will never give in.
Last year we supported 13,859 young people, women and children to leave homelessness behind.