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    Now when I look in the mirror I see life coming back into me. There is life in my eyes now.

Tŷ Golau in the centre of Rhyl is managed by Clwyd Alyn Housing Association and provides accommodation for single homeless men and women who are over 18. Tŷ Golau offers 4-6 beds of emergency access accommodation, 4 longer stay hostel beds and Housing First support to clients in their own homes.

Tracey* became homeless when she was served notice and evicted from a flat in Rhyl. At the time she was suffering from depression, was a heavy drinker and had been in an 11 year relationship with a man who was an alcoholic.

"I ended up having to be like a mother and a carer to him. I was a heavy drinker too and I used to self-harm. I hated myself. When I was evicted I was literally out on the streets and someone referred me on to Tŷ Golau for one of the emergency overnight places.

I was an angry person then - angry that no one cared, and that you were treated like scum. It's true I didn't care for myself then either – I couldn't look in a mirror, or if I did I hated the person that was staring back at me. I didn't care for myself, or about myself. I just felt worthless."

Coming through the doors at Tŷ Golau was the first step for Tracey to rediscover her self-worth and self-esteem and to start on a journey of putting her life back together.

The staff at Tŷ Golau encourage all clients to engage with moving on into settled accommodation and to access the support they need. Tŷ Golau's innovative approach also includes four managed short term tenancy places where people have a room of their own and share a kitchen-dining room, lounge and bathroom on the first floor of the building, above the emergency accommodation in Clwyd Street.

When Tracey heard that one of these places was free she successfully applied. This gave her a safe place off the streets. It gave her a space of her own and it gave her the vital one-to-one support provided by the friendly professional Project staff.

"I was listened to. Lynda, (the Senior Project Officer) took time to listen, not judge, just listen, and it helped – it really helped."

As part of her short term tenancy with the scheme, Tracey is taking part in a confidence-building course run by ODEL, which is also part of the Pennaf Housing Group. ODEL stands for 'Opening Doors and Enhancing Lives' – a theme which is taken up by those who live and stay at Tŷ Golau.

Tracey has previously worked as a hotel manager and as a carer, as well as a volunteer children's worker. Just a few months after she first walked through the doors at Tŷ Golau, she is now able to plan for the future.

"I have started to believe in myself again."

When asked who she sees now when she looks in a mirror, Tracey smiles and nods cautiously.

She may not still quite believe that the person looking back is the articulate, intelligent, determined and sensitive person others see her to be but her nod and smile says it all:

"Now when I look in the mirror I see life coming back into me. There is life in my eyes now. I have stopped drinking and spend more time listening. Lynda and the team at Tŷ Golau have made a massive difference."

*names have been changed

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    © Cymorth Cymru 2020
    Company Registration No: 5093332
    Charity No: 1116774