The number of homeless people in Bristol is on the rise — by a shocking 128% over the past three years, according to statistics from Homeless Link. As a wealthy city where most people sleep easy, Bristol once bucked the trend for the rising tide of homelessness across the country. However, in the last few years charities have seen a sharp rise in the number of people sleeping rough.
Council budgets across the country are being squeezed, and Bristol is no exception, meaning less support for people when they need it most. Despite making some welcome plans for tackling homelessness in Bristol, the Council is planning to cut £500,000 over the next two years for households who have recently become homeless (p. 13), with cuts to other housing support services also in the pipeline.
Why do people become homeless?
Homelessness takes many forms and the view that someone who is homeless is someone who is sleeping in a shop doorway or on a park bench hides the bigger picture. There are huge numbers of people staying with friends or ‘sofa-surfing’. This is the often unseen side of homelessness and can have a detrimental impact on those experiencing it.
Often, for most of our companions, homelessness has come about through such issues as relationship breakdowns or being asked to leave by family. Other factors that contribute, and could happen to any one of us, are the loss of a person’s home, losing their job or problems with drugs, alcohol or mental health issues.
What support is available?
Our aim is to go beyond the idea of simply providing food and board for those that are affected by homelessness. We do not just offer a bed for the night, we offer a home for as long as someone needs it and rewarding work within our social enterprises.
Our ‘companions’, the name we give to the individuals who come and work alongside us, become part of a community and make a contribution to it, playing a crucial role in building self-esteem and allowing themselves and others to find a way to overcome homelessness in the long term. For more information on joining our Community as a companion please follow this link here. For more information on how you can support our Community in various ways, please follow this link here.
Did you know The average age of death of a homeless person is 47 years old and even lower for homeless women at just 43, compared to 77 for the general population? Read more about this and other shocking facts about homelessness in the Crisis Report or donate now to support our work.