Cheryl Richards sits on a bed she has dragged into the living room of her emergency accomodation.

With three adults and two children living in one flat, she uses it as an extra sofa during the day so her family all have somewhere to sit.

Though it's far from ideal - there are mouse traps on the kitchen floor and cockroach traps lying on the counter - for the family-of-five it's better than nothing.

After all, the alternative is finding herself private rented accommodation in a matter of weeks - something she is finding impossible.

The desperate mum recently received a letter stating her and her family would be evicted on December 23.

The faced being homeless on Christmas Eve.

Since then, her eviction notice has been withdrawn, meaning she can stay for now. But the whole experience has been traumatic.

This is the kind of uncertainty the family constantly faces. Uncertainty that breeds anxiety and stress.

Cheryl Richards faces becoming homeless just before Christmas

"There's nothing out there at the moment," the mother of two explains from her temporary home in Adams Court in Adamsdown, Cardiff.

"I've been looking for the last eight weeks I think.

"I go over to Tremorfa where there's a hub and they help, they ring the landlords, but there's nothing there.

"My sister helps me but we can't find anything so it's hard at the moment.

"It's finding the money which is impossible and finding somewhere who takes someone on the dole.

"You've got to find £1600, £1700 before you can even move into the property. How can I get that? They want a bond and rent up front, I can't get that."

She adds: "I'd go tomorrow if I could. I'm grateful I've got a roof over my head at the moment because I had nowhere else to go but it's not up to living standards."

Tucked round the corner from Cardiff Magistrates Court and HMP Cardiff, Adams Court houses more than 70 apartments for individuals and families facing homelessness.

With its whitewashed, scuffed corridors and bland carpets, it's not somewhere you would describe as homey.

Earlier this year, a number of its residents spoke out about mice infestations, damp problems and cockroaches to lay bare the desperations faced within its walls.

You can read their stories here.

The tiny living area Cheryl shares with her children and grandchildren

In Cheryl's flat, a pile of neatly washed clothes is stacked on a rickety wooden chair against one wall.

Over in the tiny living area there are two other identical chairs tucked in the corner, along with a table, but they all wobble precariously when Cheryl touches them.

When she moved in, she claims a used condom was found under one bed, and a drugs foil found under the kitchen cabinets - something United Welsh disputes.

She too has had to deal with mice and insects in her new home, a situation the house proud mother has found difficult to deal with.

She even has a video on her tablet of a cockroach making its way across the kitchen wall.

The mouse trap in Cheryl's kitchen
Cheryl has been living here since August

Cheryl said: "It's overrun with mice. You can hear them [upstairs]. Rentakill said that in here, the whole building, is overrun with mice."

Cheryl gestures to the mouse trap on the kitchen floor and adds: "There's a mouse in that trap now.

"Cockroaches came crawling down here [the kitchen wall]. My son said he saw one the other day... I told him don't be so silly because I'd never seen a cockroach, I thought they only came from abroad.

"I looked and it was going down the wall.

"When Rentakill came they said it was a German cockroach."

"It's rotten in here, the baby crawls on the floor and she's stinking."

Cheryl has done the best she can to add a few personal touches to the temporary home she shares with her son, daughter, four-year-old grandson and one-year-old granddaughter.

A black mirror stands against the cream walls, and a few Christmas decorations hang from the kitchen cabinets.

In fact, the 49-year-old had spent the day buying a few bits to cheer the house up when she received a letter stating her time in the flat was nearly over after moving in in August.

Cheryl was a tenant for 20 years before she was evicted

The letter stated her and her family would have to leave on December 23 - two days before Christmas.

Since then, her eviction notice has been withdrawn, meaning she can stay for now. But the whole experience has been traumatic.

This is the kind of uncertainty the family constantly faces. 

Cheryl said: "It's affected us bad really. I'm back on antidepressants again. I cry every day.

"When I lost my house I lost four stone in weight.

"I have nowhere to go.

"I brought my kids up on my own. I have lived on my own since I was 17.

"To come here is a big shock to the system. I had a beautiful home, I'm not being cheeky, but I had to come here."

Adams Court contains more than 70 emergency homes for those facing homelessness

Looking around her her now home, Cheryl is tearful about the situation she has found herself in.

Though her flat is immaculately tidy, it's not home, since most of her belongings have been put in storage, something she claims she will have to pay back once she has found a permanent home.

Before this she was a Cardiff Council Housing Association tenant in Adamsdown for 20 years, until she was evicted following what she claims was a dispute over rent arrears and a music complaint.

According to her, she had been paying back £80 a fortnight when she was able to, or £40 a fortnight when times were tough.

While she doesn't deny she liked to play music, she feels she has been treated unfairly.

And with only £217 a month in ESA (Employment and Support Allowance) to get her by, she doesn't know where else to turn.

Cheryl explains: "My grandson says to me 'nan can we go back to our old house?'

"He was born there and they chucked us out so he's used to that.

"We've never been separated. There's my grandkids and they're my life. 

"I just want somewhere I can call a home. I just need a roof for my two kids and grandkids. I'm not asking for much.

"If I can do it on my own, I'll do it on my own but I'm struggling."

Cheryl doesn't know where she will go if she has to leave

A spokeswoman for United Welsh said: “Adams Court provides temporary accommodation for people facing homelessness.

"The property is regularly repaired and maintained and when United Welsh first took over the property in 2009, we spent £2m on a refurbishment.

"A problem with mice at the property was identified earlier this year as a result of the building of the community hall in the grounds of Adams Court which disturbed some nests.

"This was treated immediately with intensive daily visits from pest control who, after using more humane methods, laid traps and poison.

"We continue to work with residents to ensure they dispose of their household waste properly and do not leave it in corridors or their kitchens. We also encourage them to use the right bins and storage so mice are not attracted into the property.

"As soon as any issues of any pests are reported to us we immediately call in the pest control specialists we deal with to treat the matter.

"When anyone moves on from Adams Court the flat is cleaned and any repairs that are needed are done ready for the next tenant

"Photos are also taken to show the condition of the flat once it is ready for occupation again.

"Repair work and cleaning to the cost of £800 was undertaken at this flat before it was ready to be re-let. At the time of re-letting there were no drugs paraphernalia or used condoms in any of the rooms.”

A Cardiff Council spokeswoman said: “The way in which we deliver services to homeless households with dependent children is an absolute priority for the council.

“We have a range of accommodation which provides individual flats for families who find themselves homeless and prevents the use of bed and breakfast accommodation or long stays in family hostels.

“Most homeless households placed in our temporary accommodation will be rehoused into permanent accommodation either in the private or social sector within six months.

“In a small number of cases the household will be found to have made themselves intentionally homeless.

"Extensive investigations are carried out before such a decision is made and currently the Council does not have a duty to secure housing where the household is found to be intentionally homeless but we will still continue to work with them to access private rented accommodation.

“The notice to leave Adams Court on December 23 has been withdrawn and we will work with the household to find a suitable housing solution.

“We understand that the rent levels in Cardiff can be a problem in accessing private rented accommodation but despite this many people do find a privately rented homes.

"The Council assists people to find rented homes and gives advice about the help that can be provided with bonds and rent in advance at Homefinder Workshops that are held across the city in our Hubs.”