At this freezing cold time of year, it’s so important that we think of those who don’t have a roof over their head.
Homelessness is a huge problem in the UK, and the city of Bristol have decided to do something about it. A number of large shipping containers over in Bristol have been transformed into emergency housing for the city’s homeless population.
While it’s not a permanent solution, the well-furnished cabinets give the city’s homeless a place to stay while they await permanent accommodation and look for work.
Charity organisation Help Bristol’s Homeless took these photos of one of the old storage containers which its team helped to transform in Bedminster. I’m sure you’ll agree that they’ve done an amazing job, with the interiors looking like they come from a luxury home.
The units are fully equipped, with a functioning kitchen and bathroom as well as bedroom and living room. The company is determined in its mission to transform the lives of the homeless by providing housing for those sleeping rough, something which it points out is not an entitlement, “it is a right”.
Per the company website: “Unlike many homeless charities, our ethos is that housing must come first, and then everything else comes after.
“Many complex factors can lead to homelessness, and while it is true that these issues need to be resolved to keep people off the street, we believe that the priority must be to get people into safe, stable and comfortable accommodation.”
This is such a good point – getting everything else in your life organised is so much more difficult if you don’t have a roof over your head.
“From there, we can help them to improve their own lives and reach their potential.”
The units will be available as accommodation for someone who has slept on the streets for an entire year. By providing housing, it’s hoped this will allow those who are sleeping rough with the opportunity to find employment soon after.
Property company Colliers International converted two of the containers in question, making it one of a number of Bristol businesses involved in the project, alongside EDF Energy, Barratt Homes and Balfour Beatty.
Speaking to Bristol Live, army veteran and restaurateur Jasper Thompson – who founded Help Bristol’s Homeless in 2017 – said: “Colliers has been fantastic. Without their help there would be two more people sleeping on the streets.
“We are so grateful to all of the businesses involved in this project, which are helping to improve the lives of rough sleepers.”
Jasper founded the organisation after discovering the increasing number of people sleeping rough in Bristol, before coming up with the idea of converting the containers into temporary housing.
People who are assigned a home are referred following an assessment and are given ongoing support as part of the initiative. Jasper went on to state: “They are also given opportunities to develop skills by helping in the conversion of the containers into homes.”
This sounds like a great system, with those who have benefited being able to give something back to those who are still waiting for their chance.
Head of South West and Wales at Colliers International, Tim Davies, said: “Staff in the Bristol office have always rolled up their sleeves and got involved in Corporate Social Responsibility initiatives.”
“This ambitious project takes that to a new level, as by helping to transform former shipping containers into temporary homes Colliers staff will also be helping to transform the lives of homeless people in Bristol.”
I think this is an amazing scheme, and I hope it gets adopted in other port cities where there are shipping containers and other such spaces going to waste.