Help Bristol Homeless
21st June 2021
With wholistic care for people and planet, Help Bristol Homeless is an incredible charity with a mission to change the face of homelessness in Bristol. We chat to Trustee and charity secretary Zoradi Tucker to find out more.
TELL US ABOUT YOUR PROJECT?
We believe a home is a right not a privilege. We follow a housing first solution with added support for each person to turn their lives around, getting involved in the project to help themselves and help others like themselves.
We started in 2017, up-cycling shipping containers into high specification, self-contained accommodation for single occupancy. The containers, and a converted double decker bus, are arranged together in a small gated community featuring supporting facilities for the homeless of Bristol.
As outreach, we also cook meals every week in our kitchen (a converted shipping container) and our cooks are residents at the project themselves. We collaborate with local community groups, and our partners to provide not only support for street homeless, but also the vulnerably housed, those in food poverty, and those needing advice. We also signpost to other support agencies.
The containers we use have never been to sea but often have been used already as offices or similar, so they do need some attention to start with. Sandblasting is the first step to remove rust, then painting the exterior is needed to prolong the life of the container.
They are light and airy inside, and an ideal size for one person - 32 feet by 10 feet wide. There is a bedroom, a bathroom with shower, sink and toilet, and a kitchen dining living area, with windows and patio doors. To help with energy costs, they are insulated with special materials for warmth in winter and cool in summer. They are moveable and stackable and a cost effective way of providing much needed accommodation. They are adaptable - we have a kitchen, a dining room, a shower block, a laundry, an office and a wellbeing centre- all are converted shipping containers. They are painted up on the outside to make the whole project attractive and welcoming.
We not only repurpose shipping containers, we also follow eco friendly policies when it comes to insulations, power sources, and energy saving measures. The project recycles wherever it can and makes use of donated goods- also recycling in that way.
WHAT DO YOU THINK ABOUT NATURE? DOES IT HELP YOUR WORK?
We have as much nature as we can - planters, raised beds, pots and so on, to grow not just vegetables and herbs for our kitchen, but also to encourage bees. We are looking at how to incorporate roof gardens on top the containers at the moment to do more of the same. Creating a peaceful atmosphere at the project by this sort of thing, gardening and so on, is not just good for nature but also for the wellbeing of all of our residents.
Our summer challenge this year is aimed at children and schools - plant a boot.
IF PEOPLE WANT TO SUPPORT YOU, WHAT CAN THEY DO?
WHAT ARE YOUR DREAMS FOR THE FUTURE?
We want to grow the project to become sustainable and to offer accommodation for up to 60 homeless people at a time, and to partner with more charitable projects to support those in need of help with food poverty.
Thank you to Help Bristol Homeless for telling us about their innovative project! Find out more about them at www.helpbristolshomeless.org