As churches in Bristol open their doors for homeless people, we are giving homes to those people as they continue on their journey off the streets.
Yesterday Mayor, Marvin Rees, launched the ‘100 beds in 100 days’ initiative, seeing organisations across the city come together to tackle homelessness.
United Communities are playing our part along with other social housing providers, by offering 3 of our homes to those already in hostels or temporary accommodation over the next 100 days. To date, 33 bed spaces have been offered by social landlords across the city, freeing up bed space for those currently sleeping rough.
We are working closely with Bristol City Council, the Mayors Office, other social landlords and the Rough Sleepers Partnership to get people off the streets for good and into a permanent home.
These kinds of partnerships are vital if we are going to fix the housing crisis, however it doesn’t solve the problem. Over the next 5 years United Communities have committed to a very ambitious building programme. We want to build 500 homes affordable homes over the next 5 years. For a community housing association such as ourselves, this is a tough target, but one we are determined to reach.
As private rents rise to record levels we must provide more affordable homes. There currently isn’t the capacity for social housing to accommodate all those who can’t afford the extortionate private rents, so we must increase our supply. By building more, working with the council to make sure empty properties are being used, we can start to occupy our cities forgotten spaces.
Oona Goldsworthy, United Communities Chief Executive said: “We are proud to be a partner in this initiative to drive down the numbers of people sleeping rough on our streets and help get individuals moving out of temporary accommodation. Homelessness is a complex problem but our hope is that by working together and sharing our expertise we can dramatically reduce the numbers of people sleeping rough across Bristol.”
The next three, 1 bed flats that become available will be offered to the initiative to house individuals.
We already rehouse families in temporary accommodation on a regular basis – for example, 11 of the 20 two bed properties that have come available this year have gone to homeless families in temporary accommodation.