Home » Homeless teen mum helped by Cardiff women’s hostel

Homeless teen mum helped by Cardiff women’s hostel

A 17-YEAR-OLD single-mum left home to escape a fraught home-life but found herself homeless with her six-month-old baby. A women’s hostel took her in and helped her turn her life around, now almost a decade on, she returns to the same hostel to help support other young women.

At just 16, Chelsea found out she was pregnant. At the time she was still living at home with her mother, while studying for a childcare course at college. Homelife was fraught, unstable and became increasingly unsafe as tension rose between her and her mother.

Soon after her daughter was born, Chelsea became worried for the safety of her daughter and the situation at home became unbearable. Having no job, no money or savings, and a child to support, Chelsea turned to a women’s hostel for support, refuge, and help.

It was at Ty Enfys in Cardiff, owned and managed by Taff Housing, where she lived for the next two years. Providing her with the opportunity to gain the skills, experience, and qualifications she needed to live independently and search for employment to support her and her daughter.

Now ten years later, Chelsea has returned to Ty Enfys to be part of its mission and help support others young women, like her.

Chelsea said, “It was a very difficult decision to leave home when my daughter Siennah was only a few months old, but my mum was struggling with her own mental health problems, while battling alcoholism, and I just didn’t feel like it was the right environment to bring up my child.

“I had no money, no savings, and no job, so had no idea how I was going to support myself, but I knew I needed to get out. I was so terrified about being homeless and being forced to give up Siennah. I just wanted the best start for her in life, and this is when I heard about Ty Enfys.”

She immediately applied for residency and secured a room in the 21-bed hostel for young mums. Chelsea reflects that her time at Ty Enfys marked the beginning of a new chapter for her and her young daughter and brought an end to the stressful and fraught homelife she had previously been experiencing.

“My life could’ve taken a very different turn, so I feel like finding Ty Enfys saved both me and my daughter.”

Chelsea recalls her two-year stay at Ty Enfys as a turning point in her life. Not only did the move improve Chelsea’s relationship with her mother but gave Chelsea confidence in her own abilities as a parent. She said, “Ty Enfys provided me with a secure, stable, and happy home-life to bring up Siennah for the first two years of her life.”

“As a single mum of 17, I knew nothing about children, but the staff supported me and taught me everything I needed to know. I was never alone and never made to feel inadequate. It was great to be around other young people in the same situation as me too. We could share experiences, advice, and support each other.”

Chelsea fondly recalls the trips to go swimming in the local pool, day-outings to Roath Park and the community and friends she found in Ty Enfys.

Now, nearly ten years later, Chelsea’s life looks very different. She has her own home, lives independently, and has returned to Ty Enfys to work as a housekeeper.

Approaching her one-year anniversary of working at Ty Enfys Chelsea recalls the moment she saw the job advert.

“When I saw that they were recruiting at Ty Enfys, I knew it was a sign. I feel like I have gone full circle and am able to give back a little bit of the support I received when I stayed there.”

Looking to the future, Chelsea harbours aspirations of furthering her career within childcare or as a support worker, with dreams of eventually running a facility like Ty Enfys.

She says “I want to help others like me. I know exactly how they feel,” Chelsea expresses. “And the staff at Ty Enfys will do anything they can to help.”

Chelsea is one of many women who need the support and care that Ty Enfys provides, to prevent them from becoming homeless.

Senior Project Support Officer at Ty Enfys, Deborah Gibby said, ‘At Ty Enfys, our focus extends beyond providing shelter.

“We’re dedicated to empowering our residents through education, employment opportunities, and engaging workshops.

“Our goal is to equip them with the skills and confidence to secure employment, transition to independent living, and thrive in their own homes.”

CEO of Taff Housing, Helen White adds, “Having somewhere to call home is a right, not a privilege. Which is why we are pleased to see that the Welsh Government has announced an additional £13m being allocated to the Housing Support Grant budget for 2024/25. This additional funding will be crucial for sustaining the support services in place. We are thrilled to have Chelsea back as part of the team at Ty Enfys.”

Ty Enfys, operated by Taff Housing, is a women’s hostel in Cardiff, Wales, offering safe and supportive accommodation for women experiencing homelessness. With dedicated staff and resources, Ty Enfys provides essential services, including counselling and life skills training, empowering women to rebuild their lives with dignity and resilience.

Taff Housing owns and manages over 1,500 homes across Cardiff, providing shelter for 4,000 residents. They also oversee various supported accommodation projects tailored to young people, young mothers, older BAME individuals, and those with specialized needs.

Beyond housing, they manage supported accommodations for diverse groups, offering financial aid, money advice, and community-based services. Through floating tenancy support, Taff Housing helps individuals access education, training, employment, and health services, working to prevent homelessness.