You may have seen BBC News reporting on Bristol’s HomeChoice system this week. This is the city’s social housing allocations process recently reviewed by Bristol City Council. Our Early Doors project worked alongside their coproduction group of residents from BS13 to feed into the now-concluded consultation.
BBC News reported that new restrictions highlighted in the review would affect many people in lowest priority Band 4 and “effectively exclude almost 9,500 households, deemed to have the least urgent need, from bidding. Greater priority will now be given to older people in need of sheltered housing, care leavers, tenants and people at risk of homelessness.“ This is something that was a specific concern to Early Doors community group, whose input is acknowledged in the report.
A community voice
Talking about their response, members said, “Our members who were given the lowest Band 4, still felt that they had a significant housing need. We felt that it was important to keep Band 4 to acknowledge the number of people in Bristol who need affordable secure homes and who are on low and insecure incomes.
“We felt that this is a group of people who have a significant housing need and are being kept in constant housing insecurity because they are being pushed into unaffordable privately rented accommodation. For those of us in Band 4 on low incomes and on Universal Credit it is incredibly difficult to find private rental sector homes that will accept us, and we cannot compete in the open market.”
Bigger picture, better solution
Every week, Early Doors is meeting more and more people and families affected by insecure, inappropriate, or precarious housing and homelessness. They are working continuously to address these needs, but without a comprehensive understanding of the bigger picture that an unedited Band 4 can point towards, it is difficult to quantify the scale and intensity of unfulfilled housing needs in Bristol. This is an issue that affects everyone in Bristol, because it is important that we all have meaningful and appropriate options for a safe, secure home. Until we have this, our city won’t be able to solve homelessness.
You can download Early Doors’ Housing Support Handbook here. It’s a tool for anyone facing money worries or housing problems in Bristol It’s just one on the project’s actions to prevent homelessness in Bristol.
If you’d like to stand alongside Caring in Bristol and our mission to solve homelessness in Bristol it’s quick, easy, and safe to make your kind donation here.