Homelessness in Bristol: it's not going away.
Our year 7 reporter Lola looks beneath the surface to see how big this problem really is and why some people don't do anything about it.
Ted aged 65* spends his days on the Prince Street bridge in his bobble hat and blanket cheerful chatting to passers by. Pupils from BCCS report that they walk past numerous homeless people like Ted on a daily basis to and from school. “Ted is always talking to someone although life seems tough for him, especially when it gets cold,” said one Year 7 student, “it must be embarrassing to get to a stage where you are desperate enough to ask people for change.”
Bristol has seen rising levels of homelessness since 2011. Approximately 11,300 people are now officially homeless in the south west of England. This includes people who don’t have a permanent home. People who are homeless aren’t always on the streets. They are often staying in hostels or many young people end up ‘couch surfing’ at friends’ houses.
There are 100 emergency beds for rough sleepers. These beds are used when temperatures fall below freezing. However, more beds need to be available for those who have nowhere safe to sleep. The Julian Trust Night Shelter has facilities available for homeless people to stay the night. They can stay the night, have dinner and breakfast and have a chance to wash their clothes. This is a really helpful charity and can save people’s lives as well as their dignity.
A large majority of people don’t give homeless people money or food because then they feel like they have to give something to everyone; however, giving to the Julian Trust and other homelessness charities is giving to everyone. You can also go the full length and get personal like Hamish Anderson did last year.
Hamish Anderson, now a year 11 student at BCCS took action last year by shaving his head to raise awareness and by giving homeless people something to eat. “The homeless people were incredibly grateful which sprouted a trusting bond,” he said. “More people should give food to the homeless because then they can spend their money on clothes and essentials.” There are so many hungry people on the streets. Lots would agree that there should be more charities that provide food for homeless.
More people could do their bit by maybe donating to homeless charities, e.g: The Julian Trust as mentioned above. There are many other charities too, and all charities are extremely grateful for donations.
*name and age altered.