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Eco-homes for the homeless

Social Bite describe themselves as a 'social business', where 100% of profits are given back to society in order to help provide solutions to problems such as homelessness. 

Josh, the co-founder of Social Bite, talks about their latest plans to create an eco-village, designed for homeless people and their eventual reintegration into society. 

Read his story:

Hello, I am Josh, the co-founder of Social Bite. 

I want to tell you about our plan to build a village for the homeless and support some of our most vulnerable people back to their feet, and ask for your support.

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 end point by giving homeless people jobs. Our plan now is to work backwards.

The Social Bite Village

We approached Edinburgh City Council and asked them for a piece of land where we can build accommodation for up to 20 people from a homeless backgrounds along with space for a vegetable garden, chicken coup and furniture workshop. I’m delighted to say that Edinburgh Council have 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 a innovative, low cost housing model to use to give us a realistic chance of building the village. The criteria for the housing was that:

  1. It had to be an beautiful and uplifting living environment
  2. It had to be pre-fabricated off-site and movable
  3. Each 2 bedroom house had to cost around £30,000 to give us a realistic chance of raising the funds to make it happen.

I'm delighted to say that we found an amazing designer and Craftsman called Jonathan Avery in Linlithgow who has built the house prototype that you can see in the pictures. It is a stunning little house and fulfils all of the criteria above.

Our plan is to use this land and these houses to create a safe and supportive living environment for up to 20 people to live in for around 12 - 15 months. During this time we will ensure they receive extensive support in a controlled environment where residents will receive everything they need including counselling, money management guidance, cooking lessons, exercise and therapy. Residents will also learn new skills and get their life back on track, working in an onsite vegetable garden, chicken coup and furniture workshop as well as given work placements in our shops and restaurant. 

After 12-15 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 where they belong. After the residents have moved on to permanent accomodation 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 will be people who are currently living in 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 and it costs local councils a significant amount of money just to maintain a broken status quo. We plan to provide a significant cost saving to Edinburgh Council tax payer whilst at the same time provide a route out of homelessness for the individuals we take in to the village.

In doing this we aim to create a blueprint of an alternative solution to homelessness and the housing crisis that can be replicated by other charities, local authorities or the state.

Launching this project will require about £500,000 of initial funding so we are about to embark on another fundraising drive this Christmas to get it done. We hope once again that Scotland shows its compassion and gets behind us.

Thank you for taking the time to read and please support if you can.

See the original article here on their Justgiving page.