Homelessness on the rise in Bristol

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By James Cleaver, Online News Editor

The temporary closure of two support centres has caused an alarming spike in the number of people being fed by Feed the Homeless Bristol

Naseem Talukdar, founder of Feed the Homeless Bristol, wrote an open letter to the city's mayor, Marvin Rees, describing the increase in meals given out to those in need. The 197 fed on Friday 14 September and 180 on Sunday 16 September represent a rise of almost treble previous numbers, a figure that 'is increasing' according to Mr Talukdar.

With fewer places and organisations to turn to, rough sleepers and the homeless are more exposed to violence, falling temperatures and dangerously addictive substances such as Spice. In his letter, Mr Talukdar urged the mayor to 'take immediate action and find temporary emergency shelter as soon as possible until these services are resumed'.

'I am fearful that unless action is taken to address the situation and provide safety and security these vulnerable people will fall victim to abuse and be at grave risk of danger'

The reason for this change is the temporary closure of two support centres in the city centre; The Wild Goose and The Julian Centre. Their shutdown has placed more pressure on Feed the Homeless Bristol, which is entirely dependent on volunteers. The Julian Centre is undergoing refurbishment and expects to re-open in mid-October, whereas The Wild Goose has recently cut back its services as a result of too few volunteers.

Councillor Paul Smith responded by saying: 'We understand that this is not ideal for the vulnerable people who rely on these services and hope that they will be able to access these again soon. We've also been working hard to bring more empty properties back into use to support rough sleepers.'

Featured image: James Cleaver / Epigram

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