I received a phone call to say I had 15 minutes to pack a bag before the bailiffs arrived to repossess my home.

Rachel, a staff nurse in Cardiff was devastated when she received a phone call to say she had 15 minutes to pack a bag before the bailiffs arrived to repossess her home.

Rachel’s husband Peter had lost his job over a year ago and not wanting to worry Rachel he continued to “go to work”. He was too ashamed to admit that he was no longer working and hadn’t been paying the bills. Peter rang Shelter Cymru on the morning of the repossession and asked them to tell Rachel that they were going to lose their home. Peter was desperate.

“I was devastated when I received the phone call” says Rachel. “I really didn’t have a clue. Life was hectic, working shifts and looking after my little girl, and I left all the  management of the bills to Peter. He didn’t want to worry me, thinking he would get another job easily, but he didn’t.”

The bailiffs arrived.

“We left with just a small bag of things that I gathered together in 10 minutes. Shelter Cymru told me to go to the council and present myself as homeless. All I could think about was how I was going to break the news to my  five year-old daughter, Cerys. I have never experienced anything as bad as telling my daughter: ‘Mammy has no idea where we’re going to sleep tonight’. She wouldn’t stop crying. I was her mum, yet I couldn’t protect her.I couldn’t make it better and I felt guilty for not realising what was happening. I had taken my home for granted, I never expected to have it ripped out from under my feet.”

Rachel, Peter and Cerys were all crammed into a hotel room for a week and a half and then put in temporary accommodation for four months.

“We tried to make the best of it for Cerys, I just kept telling her we will find you a forever home we’ll paint your new bedroom pink and we’ll buy you a new bed.”

Rachel’s story thankfully has a happy ending.

“Shelter Cymru stepped in and fought my corner” says Rachel. “When my whole world had fallen apart, they made me believe I could get my life back on track – and I have. Shelter Cymru were on my side and Cerys now has her very own pink bedroom and her very own princess bed. I didn’t realise how important a home is until I lost mine, and without Shelter Cymru’s support we never would have found a new home.”

Help us to help more people like Rachel.

Siani Morgan has been a Housing Adviser for Shelter Cymru for almost 20 years and has supported many vulnerable families like Rachel’s, struggling to keep their homes.

“Homelessness can affect anyone,” says Siani. “Rachel is testimony to the fact that we never know what is round the corner.”

Shelter Cymru aims to prevent homelessness. In most cases we can stop an eviction but in Rachel’s case, unfortunately, the call from Peter came too late. However, we did help Rachel and Peter to fi nd a home where Cerys would feel safe and secure – a place where they could re-build their lives.

We were able to make a difference to Rachel’s family, they have a new home. But sadly, there are thousands more children across Wales at risk of losing their home this Christmas. Please support us to help more families at risk of homelessness this Christmas.

You can donate online or by calling our Fundraising team on 01792 483400.