As the wintery weather recedes it would be easy to think that the homelessness situation in Bristol is somewhat easier. It’s true that being forced out onto the street by a broken housing system is even harsher during winter months, and fuel poverty has driven many towards homelessness. However, homelessness is complex. Our work is needed throughout the year, whatever the season.
Our Early Doors project has expanded its team to meet some of the growing need to provide advice, information and support to people facing housing insecurity and homelessness. Acting as early as possible is an effective way of stopping homelessness in its tracks. Early Doors, which is a partnership between Caring in Bristol and Housing Matters, has also joined with Shelter to provide easy-access housing advice drop ins. It also continues to work closely with some of Bristol’s neighbourhoods to understand their issues around housing, and design and deliver bespoke workshops around their needs. The lived experience of people from those neighbourhoods continues to inform the direction of the project’s work.
A New Youth Shelter
Our office base is a hive of activity as plans progress to establish an emergency youth shelter in Bristol. We have identified a central location, and once planning consent is completed, we expect to be up and running before the year is out. Caring in Bristol commissioned a piece of research. The overwhelming message from young people, homelessness and youth services, and other stakeholders is that this is a gap in the city’s provision that desperately needs to be filled. It will provide short-term, emergency support for young people experiencing a homelessness crisis enabling them to take control of their future. This project will see an expansion of Project Z’s existing work with young people in Bristol who have experienced homelessness.
Food and Homelessness
Over the past year we have seen inflation rise and place pressure on households across Bristol. Some households are being disproportionately affected. Our Bristol Goods project is actively working to break the link between food insecurity and homelessness. Each week, in several key community locations, their pop-up food clubs provide a thriving marketplace for local people to access high-quality, low-cost goods. The sessions are community-focused, and Caring in Bristol staff are on hand to field any support or advice needs around housing and homelessness. Reducing the pressure of inflated food costs also helps people to move further away from becoming homeless. Everyone needs room to breathe!
This City Can!
2023 is proving to be a busy year, but we are working hard to meet the challenges that both persist and arise. We know from our work that homelessness is preventable, and we won’t stop until we’ve created a city empowered to solve homelessness. Through collaboration, putting people first and focusing on the end goal our work continually develops alongside the needs of Bristolians of all backgrounds. We love Bristol. We believe it’s a city that can!