Student reveals the stories behind homelessness in Cardiff

Homelessness film

A new short film reveals the stories of some of the people that live on the streets of Cardiff city centre. 

Third year photojournalism student Ben Blyth spent a night and two days on the streets of Cardiff, learning what is like to be homeless and speaking to those who face this reality every day.

Ben said: “In my first year of university, I did a photography piece with people who were homeless. But I realized that I hadn’t really done it justice and I wanted to revisit this subject to really find out more about the people that I was speaking to and find out more about their stories.

“The only way that I could do this film authentically was to try and understand what it is really like to live on the streets. If I didn’t, then it wouldn’t necessarily have had the right motive. Even though I spent time acting homeless, I could never understand what is like to actually be homeless, no one can until it happens for real."

With just a large coat bought from a charity shop and a go-pro camera, Ben set out to experience what it was like to sleep rough.

“I slept on a bench near to the museum in Cardiff, although I didn’t really sleep very much. During the daytime I was begging for a few hours, and when I was sat on Queen Street, people who I knew walked passed and didn’t recognize me. I hadn’t disguised myself in any way, but they just didn’t take notice,” he said.

“I met a number of people on the streets who agreed to be part of the film. I just sat down and spoke to them to begin with and listened to their stories. They didn’t know that I was making a film initially, so I broke down the barriers before I asked if they would be on camera.

“They all had a lot more to say than what is in the final nine minutes of film, and there is a lot more that could be said.

“You can feel so lonely on the streets. In today’s world, we all so connected, that we rarely even go half an hour without speaking to someone. But a lot of people on the streets, whilst they of course welcome gestures of change or food and drinks, they also really would just welcome a conversation with someone, and to be treated as a human, which just can’t be replaced. One person can't stop homelessness, that's not going to happen. But I think that each person can make a homeless person's life better by just asking if they're alright or having a chat.”

Watch the full film below:  

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