An emergency youth shelter could open in Bristol – following a rise in the number of homeless young people in the city.
Local homelessness charity Caring in Bristol wants to find a four or five bedroom property in the city to use as a youth shelter for vulnerable young people who face ending up on the streets.
The shelter will be the only one of its kind in the city.
Leaders at the charity say the number of young people finding themselves without a roof over their head in the city has been exacerbated by the coronavirus pandemic.
Centrepoint, a national youth homelessness charity supporting under-25s in England, has seen a 36% increase in young people seeking support since lockdown began.
In Bristol, the average number of ‘roofless’ young people has risen from 7.1 to 9.6 in 2020 alone.
Caring in Bristol is now calling on local landlords and letting agencies to help them find the perfect space for the much-needed emergency accommodation.
The four or five-bedroom house will become an overnight safe space for those under 25 with no other available housing options and considering a night on the street.
The charity would be the sole tenant and is guaranteeing reliable rent, maintenance, health and safety and open communication with the property owner and managers.
Those seeking sanctuary in the shelter will always be accompanied by two trained adults offering 24/7 housing and wellbeing support.
Stays could range from one night to one week.
Caring in Bristol director Ben Richardson said: “We are currently witnessing a rise in those under 25 needing a safe space to sleep at night when there are no other options available to them.
“As a local charity it is imperative, we work alongside our community to provide this safety net for valuable younger members of our society, a city-centre space, managed by us, is an effective way to create immediate impact and long-term change.
“We have written to landlords, letting agencies and property owners as a way of starting an open dialogue about how we can work together to solve homelessness.”
Traditional night shelters available for young people have relied on a network of volunteer hosts providing spare bedrooms and dormitory style shelters – both of which are no longer viable during the pandemic.
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Caring in Bristol operations manager Sarah Walker said: “Caring in Bristol and charities we work alongside are seeing a rise in those under 25 who are in this frightening position and confused about where to seek support, and wondering if there is any support available for them in the global pandemic and we want to make it very clear to young people that there is support and we want to encourage them to seek help early.”
Any landlords which think they could help should contact email@example.com
Visit the Caring in Bristol website to find out more about the charity’s work in the city.