United Communities along with other agencies pledged, back in January, to help create 100 beds in 100 days to tackle homelessness in Bristol.
The City Office has worked on five initiatives to meet the target. The most successful of these is enabling people to move out of supported housing into permanent Housing Association properties, enabling rough sleepers to take up hostel places. To date, 24 flats have been offered by Associations across the city. United Communities has successfully found homes for 3 single men a group who find it notoriously difficult to qualify for social housing due to the way choice based letting systems work.
Last week, one client moved into his first permanent home for over 10 years with United Communities. After a difficult marriage breakdown, he was homeless. Unable to work, he lost contact with his family and lived on the streets. Three years ago he moved into temporary accommodation. United Communities have enlisted the help of a number of local charities to help furnish and decorate Mr N’s new flat. Jayne Whittlestone, Communities Manager at United Communities commented: “We really hope Mr N can make a fresh start and start work in his chosen career. He’s told us the 100 beds project has given him the help he and others so badly need to get them re-connected to life.”
Marvin Rees, Mayor of Bristol said: “Homelessness is a huge issue in our city and a daily reminder of the glaring inequalities which confront us. Positive progress has been made in the light of the challenge I set for this winter. People have stepped forward to be involved – new bedspaces have been created and I’m very grateful for that. We have seen what we can achieve when the city works together towards to tackle some of our toughest challenges. We will harness the energy around this work to do even more as we aim to make Bristol a city in which everyone has a home. I appreciate everyone’s efforts this winter and look forward to continuing our work.”
This success shows yet again the need for more social housing, United Communities and other social landlords are key to tackling the homeless problem in our country.