Social Bite officially launches Edinburgh homeless village

Social enterprise Social Bite has officially launched its village in Edinburgh which aims to tackle homelessness by providing a safe living environment for around 20 people per year.

Developed on vacant land in Granton, the Social Bite Village is made up of 11 two-bedroom nest houses intended to provide compact comfortable accommodation for occupants who will be offered round-the-clock support as they aim to reintegrate into society.

At the centre of the village is the community hub, where residents, staff and volunteers “will be encouraged to prepare meals communally, eat together, socialise, develop social and practical skills and benefit from a warm, bright, welcoming environment”.

Social Bite co-founder Josh Littlejohn shows communities secretary Angela Constance round the village

A team from homeless charity Cyrenians will develop and maintain a community living model providing support for the residents, through a person-centred approach that aims to help people find their way to a happier, healthier future.

Hillcrest Housing Association is also partnering in the venture by providing facilities and tenancy management services for the Village.

Social Bite said it hopes this will provide a new approach to homelessness, where people can have a steady base, rather than rely on hostels and B&Bs.

Josh Littlejohn, co-founder of Social Bite, said: “I am so thrilled to see the project reach completion and it has only happened due to the support of literally thousands of people and hundreds of organisations.

“There’s no one-size-fits all solution to homelessness and what we’re doing at the Village is developing a viable alternative to the unsupported, substandard and expensive temporary accommodation models that are prevalent within the homelessness system such as hostels and B&Bs.

“The project has utilised vacant council owned land with a beautiful pre-fabricated house design to create a bespoke community environment.

“When the first residents arrive next month, they’ll become part of a safe, positive and supported community.

“The village’s on-site support staff, led by the Cyrenians, will encourage people to support each other towards a happier, healthier future in a place of belonging, security and hope.”

The first residents will move into the village in the coming days and will stay for around 12 to 18 months.

Josh Littlejohn added: “We see the project as part of a jigsaw of solutions required to tackle the issue of homelessness and it will sit alongside our Housing First program which will see 800 mainstream homes across five cities in Scotland given to rough sleepers over the next 18 months.”

The village follows a fundraising campaign to tackle homelessness in Scotland which saw thousands of people sleep rough for a night in Edinburgh, raising more than £4 million.

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