Edinburgh ‘homeless village’ given green light

The City of Edinburgh Council has approved the caravan license for the village, which will house up to 20 homeless people in the Granton area of the city.

Social enterprise Social Bite is working with homelessness charity Cyrenians on the project to refer people living in unsupported temporary accommodation to the village. The energy efficient, eco-friendly homes were designed by architect Jonathan Avery of Tiny House Scotland, and the prototype was unveiled at last year’s Edinburgh Festival.

New Start covered the report published by David Goldie of The Highland Council last month which stated that traditional models of homelessness services usually involve moving people through different temporary accommodation until they are considered to be ‘ready’ to take up a tenancy.

The report stated that this gives vulnerable people instability, making it harder for them to address their needs and creating a ‘snakes and ladders’ pathway to independent living.

Social Bite co-founder Josh Littlejohn said he believes there is a ‘broken temporary accommodation system’ for homeless people.

He said: ‘We’re so pleased that the Social Bite village will be up and running this year and we’re edging closer and closer to creating what we believe can be an effective alternative to a broken temporary accommodation system for people struggling with homelessness.

‘The end result will be an inclusive, compassionate community that will provide a vital support network to people who are ready to be helped back into society. The village is only a small part of a much bigger answer required to end homelessness but it could be a blueprint for how social enterprise, charity, council and corporates work together on a solution that makes a difference.”

Charlotte Turner, Social Bite’s head of corporate catering, said: said: ‘We would like the caravan licence to open the Social Bite village which will be an innovative, supportive community for up to 20 people to stay for around 12 to 18 months.

‘The aim is to empower each individual with the skills required to maintain an independent meaningful life away from homelessness and associated issues such as unemployment, relationship breakdowns, debt, addiction and mental health.’

‘The residents will be people who are currently living in temporary accommodation, shelters and B&Bs – which from our experience, many of the people housed in these settings have very little hope or support for opportunities to help them break out of homelessness.

‘We will be working with Cyrenians who have 50 years of experience of providing support within residential therapeutic community setting.’

Social Bite recently worked with Glasgow City Council and housing association Wheatley Group to take will take more than 50 homeless people in Glasgow out of hostel accommodation and into housing. They also run employment and food programmes for the homeless across Scotland.

Read more about the village here



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