While Bristol residents are being told to stay at home during the coronavirus outbreak, some of the city’s most vulnerable people are left with nowhere to go.
Mayor Marvin Rees has put out an appeal for hotels, bed and breakfasts, Airbnbs and student housing providers to make rooms available to help people who are homeless or sleeping rough find a safe place to shelter. 450 beds are needed in total.
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“We must move people off the streets and into shelter so we can help them socially-distance and self-isolate,” said the mayor in a video released on Monday afternoon.
“We are appealing to hotels, bed and breakfasts, Airbnbs and student housing providers across Bristol to help us find 450 beds for homeless people and rough sleepers.”
He added in a statement: “We know how difficult it is for homeless people at the best of time, but if people are rough sleeping it is very hard to self-isolate. This is really worrying, and all of us need to pull together to protect the many vulnerable people in the city.
“We are now calling on hotels and B&B owners to step up to offer their help by opening their doors to the city’s homeless, so that we are able to provide the care and support they need in this time of crisis. I’d like to thank those who have already come forward and offered their support and hope to see others do the same in the coming days.”
Julian Higson, the council’s director of homes & landlord services, said: “It is vital and urgent that the homeless are able to self-isolate, and I’d encourage anyone who may be able to help with suitable accommodation to contact us as soon as possible.
“Business owners will be financially supported for offering this service and we will be in touch with them directly to make arrangements.”
The council says it will work with clients to find accommodation that is suitable for each individual, as well as ensuring food and support needs are met.
All businesses and individuals who provide emergency accommodation will be compensated in order to provide income and protect jobs during such challenging times.
Anyone who can help is asked to email firstname.lastname@example.org
Main photo courtesy of Bristol Hoteliers Association