The pandemic had seismic effects on the way Bristol worked together.
One of the most encouraging outcomes of 2020 was an unprecedented level of coordination between organisations supporting those experiencing homelessness, with the provision of food remaining a source of optimism for the City.
This was crucial because people experiencing homelessness, particularly those sleeping rough, were amongst the most at risk to the coronavirus – not only because they do not have a safe home to self-isolate but because they are three times more likely to experience a chronic health condition than people with secure tenancies.
In order to maintain this momentum and think strategically about how Bristol can work together to improve the way food is distributed to support the broader aim of homelessness organisations – that is, to reduce the number of people experiencing homelessness in Bristol – Caring in Bristol and inHope commissioned a report by Maurice Di Rosso, an expert in the area of food insecurity and then-director of Feeding Bristol.
The report found that there is no need to change the makeup of services that provide food in Bristol – as a city, we are home to a wealth of activist groups and charities who do a fantastic job of feeding the people they support.
However, there is an opportunity: food support has the potential to go beyond meeting peoples’ immediate needs and become a way of helping people facing homelessness regain their independence.
Doing so will require more collaboration and incremental step-change, but with so many capable organisations working together in Bristol it’s a challenge our city is more than equal to.