Hello, I am Josh, the co-founder of Social Bite.
I want to tell you about our recent project, The Social Bite Village which was launched in May 2018 and has been built for people in a situation of homelessness. It supports some of our most vulnerable people back into society giving back a sense of belonging..
To end the cycle of homelessness we believe you need three things:
1. A home to live in.
2. Structured support to deal with underlying practical, psychological and emotional issues.
3. A job.
As Social Bite we started at the endpoint by giving homeless people jobs. Our plan now is to work backward.
The Social Bite Village - The story so far...
Back in 2017 we approached Edinburgh City Council and asked them for a piece of land where we can build accommodation for up to 20 people from homeless backgrounds and we were delighted that Edinburgh Council donated to us a large piece of land in the Granton area of the city for as long as it remains undeveloped.
Our next challenge was to find an innovative, low-cost housing model to use to give us a realistic chance of building the village. The criteria for the housing was that:
- It had to be a beautiful and uplifting living environment
- It had to be pre-fabricated off-site and movable
- Each 2 bedroom house had to cost around £30,000 to give us a realistic chance of raising the funds to make it happen.
We went on to find an amazing designer and Craftsman called Jonathan Avery in Linlithgow who first built a house prototype that was exhibited at St Andrew Sq in Edinburgh.
We now have 20 of these houses at The Social Bite Village in Granton providing a safe and supportive living environment for someone in a situation of homelessness for around 12 - 18 months. During their tenancy, we will ensure they receive extensive support in a controlled environment where residents will receive everything they need including counseling, money management guidance, cooking lessons, exercise, and therapy. Residents will also learn new skills to help get their life back on track.
After 12-18 months we will help transition the residents into permanent accommodation and provide employment in Social Bite’s broader business and our partners, supporting their journey back into society bringing about a sense of belonging. After the residents have moved on to permanent accommodation we will welcome another 20 resident’s into the village, and we will aim to support 20 new residents out of homelessness every single year.
The residents have to fit a basic criteria to be able to live at the village. Current residents have lived experienced of mostly unsupported temporary accommodation, shelters, and homelessness B&Bs. From our experience, these people have very little hope, support or social intervention to help them break out of the cycle of homelessness if living in these situations and it costs local councils a significant amount of money just to maintain a broken status quo. The Social Bite Village provides a significant cost saving to Edinburgh Council tax payer whilst at the same time supporting a route out of homelessness for the individuals we take in to the village.
Our aim is to create a blueprint of this alternative solution to homelessness and the housing crisis that can be replicated by other charities, local authorities or the state.
Maintaining the living and community environment at The Social Bite Village requires your ongoing support; costs to operate this model can be as high as £100,000 each year. We hope that we can continue to provide this solution for as long as needed to bypass the relentless cycle of unsuitable temporary accommodation.
Thank you for taking the time to read and please support if you can.