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Bristol Homeless Forum
BHF News - 9 July 2015



Bristol Methodist Centre

Remodelling of the former Methodist Church on Lincoln Street, Lawrence Hill is scheduled to begin on Monday 13 July.

Work is expected to be completed by mid October, at which point the current centre on Midland Road will close. The work will shut down for 2 weeks while we pack up Midland Road Centre and get organised on Lincoln Street. Hopefully we will reopen early November.

Dates will be confirmed nearer the time. The official opening will take place later in November.

Bristol Nightstop

May/June stats:

Referrals: 19
Host nights used:   62
Host households: 19

New hosts are always needed. For more information contact Julia Clapp on 07979 878814 or visit www.bristolnightstop.org.uk/becoming-a-host/.

Bristol Soup Run Trust

The gap in provision on Friday evenings has been filled and the Soup Run continues to go out every evening. Numbers are static.

Caring at Christmas

Shifts are now open for Christmas 2015. We are keen to hear from all potential volunteers but especially those who are able to work on overnight shifts.

For more information contact Ed Reed on 0117 924 4444 or visit www.caringatchristmas.org.uk/volunteering/.

Caring in Bristol

CIB is currently recruiting for a Charity Development Worker to assist with the planning and delivery of several new social action projects designed to expand the charity's support for homeless and vulnerable people in Bristol. These will accord with CIB's new vision statement: "Caring in Bristol's vision is for a society where everyone in need has a home, has hope, and is part of a community".

Christ Church Breakfast Run

No significant changes to report.

Strangers' Friend Society

Funds remain available for distribution – up to £75 worth of goods per person to provide the essentials of daily living. Contact Lindsey Jones on 07950 800526.


Supreme Court decision on vulnerable homeless people

At the Homeless Forum in May, I was asked to circulate this link: www.bbc.co.uk/news/uk-32721693.

In a landmark ruling, the Supreme Court has said that councils must do more to help single homeless people.

The court found that local authorities were failing to recognise homeless people in vulnerable situations. The court said councils assessing the needs of single homeless people should compare them with an "ordinary person" rather than another homeless person. The decision will change the "vulnerability test" by which councils decide which homeless people should be provided with housing.

Before today's ruling, councils assessed potentially vulnerable people by comparing them with a so-called "ordinary homeless person". That led to situations in which single homeless people suffering from problems including depression and suicidal thoughts were deemed not vulnerable because an "ordinary homeless person" might be expected to suffer from those problems.

The good news is that more homeless people will be eligible for help, which means the Council will be obliged to help them. The bad news is that no more money has been made available to enable the Councils to do it, and there are no more homes to put them in than we had before. Still, from a legal point of view, it is a major change we need to be aware of.

Beyond Food Foundation

(This is a slightly fuller version of the report given to the previous meeting.)

On 13 May Beyond Food Foundation held their Bristol launch event at Bordeaux Quay with Founder Simon Boyle and Chief Executive Officer Greg Harris.

However, the launch was in reality a statement of their desire or intention to launch a new project in Bristol. They want to reproduce the model they have been operating in London and train homeless people and former homeless people as chefs.

They are looking for people and organisations to partner with them in this project. For more information, contact Beyond Food by visiting www.beyondfood.org.uk.

Homeless people die 30 years younger

An old story from 2011, but worth watching if you missed it at the time: Homeless people die 30 years younger.

Homelessness more widespread than official figures show

Another BBC story, this time from from February 2015.

Research by charities Crisis and the Joseph Rowntree Foundation suggested "informal" methods used by councils to tackle the problem had masked a 9% rise in cases in 2013-14 - to 280,000 cases.

Official statistics put the number of "accepted homeless" cases at about 52,000 last year, down 3% from 2012-13. For more details, follow the link: Homelessness more widespread than official figures show.

Young, single and homeless but 'not a priority'

From 14 April 2015.

If you're 18, single and homeless, how might local authorities treat you? One woman goes undercover to find out.

In 2013, 25-year-old Mateasa Grant was living with a partner when he began to abuse alcohol and behave threateningly. Without an income and feeling unable to approach her family, she says she saw no option but to sleep rough.

The next day, she went to her local council for help, but because she was single and over 18 she wasn't seen as vulnerable enough to be a "priority". She says it was only through a local charity, which found her temporary accommodation, that she was able to get back on her feet and into the world of work.

For more details, follow the link: Young, single and homeless but 'not a priority'.

Homeless Link

The 2014 Annual Report contains lots of useful details: Support for Single Homeless People.

Their web site contains a lot of useful resources: Homeless Link.

Homeless Forum

Attaching the Homeless Forum to the new group (still with the provisional name of Bristol Christians in Politics & Social Action) remains a probable way forward. It is increasingly unlikely that the new name will have the initials BCAN, whatever they might stand for, so continuing to call this group the BCAN Homeless Forum is increasingly pointless.

There is no clear favourite new name for Bristol Christians in Politics & Social Action, and some people would like the discussion to continue for another year, so I am reluctant to use the name of that group at present.

Many people in the past have assumed that BHF stands for Bristol Homeless Forum, and it occurs to me that there is no reason now why this should not be the case.

I am therefore suggesting that we remain the BHF and become the Bristol Homeless Forum. If anyone has any better ideas, please say!

As before, I would like to encourage anyone who would like to participate in the work of the wider group to sign up the email list. You can do this by completing a very short online form here: Sign Up!

NEON Bristol

"NEON" is the New Economy Organisers Network. The Bristol branch was launched on 4 June. This provides the opportunity to network (both face to face and online) with many enthusiastic local activists, and gather ideas and opinions from people who are experts in many areas.

"NEON is a nationwide community of activists and campaigners from faith groups, NGOs, trade unions and grassroots tackling the root causes of the problems we are all tackling in our fight for a fairer, equal and just society."

For more information, visit NEON:
New Economy Organisers Network.

Faith Action Audit

The national report and results were launched in London on 20 May in a large and sucessful public meeting.

The Bristol report and results will be launched on Tuesday 22 September at St Monica Trust, 2.00 – 3.30 pm with an exhibition and light refreshments from 1.30 pm. You are all invited, but you have to register: Book your place!

If you would like to be a part of the exibition, or can contribute any (anonymous!) stories of people who you have have helped, please contact Paul.


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