, , ,

Darren comments on foodbank use and homelessness in Bristol

A number of reports have been released this week in relation to rising foodbank use and homelessness in Bristol.

Yesterday (7th November) the Trussell Trust and North Bristol Foodbank released figures showing the continued rise in foodbank use. Data showed that 722 children required emergency food parcels and overall use of North Bristol Foodbank increased by 9% in the last 6 months.

Today (8th November) the countries leading housing charity, Shelter has released their ‘Far From Alone’ report on homelessness in Britain in 2017. Shelter has calculated that 307,000 are now homeless in Britain with 1 in every 170 people in Bristol now homeless, the highest level recorded in the city.

Here’s what Darren said about Foodbank use:

The stats from the Trussell Trust and North Bristol Foodbank make harrowing reading. The government needs to act now and sort out the delays to payment of Universal Credit, cuts to benefits and regulate the low paid, insecure work that prevents families from budgeting before more people have to seek emergency support for their most basic needs.

The foodbank welcomes any new offers of help with funding or donations – local businesses, organisations and individuals interested in supporting the foodbank’s work can find out more here.

Here’s what Darren said about rising levels of homelessness

At the end of October, I met with Shelter staff and clients at their Bristol Hub. They were honest with me about the housing crisis and the challenges the council and housing associations have faced prior to the welcome government U-turn on social Local Housing Allowance (LHA) rates. However, private renters are still being squeezed by the freeze on private LHA. The LHA makes renting unaffordable for many and cuts to benefits, long delays in benefit payments and the proliferation of low paid, insecure work are only making rates of homelessness worse.

Yesterday, we saw that Foodbank use is up in Bristol, today homelessness is at its highest level, all at a time that local authorities up and down the country are facing huge cuts to their budgets and having to make decisions about cutting vital public services.

In the next three weeks, I am due to meet Bristol-based staff from Riverside, a charitable housing association and St Mungos, a homeless charity to hear more about their clients experiences and what support they need from me to ensure everyone has their most basic needs met.