Social Bite’s Scottish ‘homeless village’ is given the green light

City of Edinburgh Council have given the project a licence, paving the way to house up to 20 people

A Scottish “homeless village” has been given the go-ahead by councillors who approved its caravan licence.

Social Bite, a social enterprise, had its proposals greenlit by City of Edinburgh Council’s licensing sub-committee this week, allowing up to 20 people to move to the Granton community in the north of the city.

Plans for the 1.5-acre village were unveiled last year featuring energy efficient, eco-friendly, sustainable homes designed by architect Jonathan Avery of Tiny House Scotland.

The first home was given a public outing at last year’s Edinburgh Festival before being moved to the site. It is hoped that living in the two-bedroom properties will give homeless people the chance to live independently for around 12 to 18 months to get back on their feet in a bid to break out of the cycle of homelessness.

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There are currently around 1,450 Big Issue sellers working hard on the streets each week.

Social Bite, which runs a number of cafes that employ homeless people across Scotland, is working with homelessness charity Cyrenians on the project to refer people living in unsupported temporary accommodation to the village.

Charlotte Turner, Social Bite’s head of corporate catering, said: “The aim is to empower each individual with the skills required to maintain an independent meaningful life away from homelessness and associated issues such as unemployment, relationship breakdowns, debt, addiction and mental health.

“The residents will be people who are currently living in temporary accommodation, shelters and B&Bs – which from our experience, many of the people housed in these settings have very little hope or support for opportunities to help them break out of homelessness.”

The village is one of a number of projects that Social Bite has organised in a bid to eradicate homelessness – even attracting the attention of Meghan Markle and Prince Harry who visited one of their Edinburgh cafes in February.

The social enterprise hosted the world’s biggest charity sleep-out when 8,000 people bedded down for the night in Edinburgh’s Princes Streets Gardens last December.

Social Bite founder Josh Littlejohn also sits on Homelessness Action Group, which has been given a £50 million mission to end rough sleeping in Scotland.

Main image: Jonathan Avery Tiny House Scotland