A new village for the homeless will give an early festive present to residents by allowing them to move in before Christmas.
The 1.5 acre Social Bite village – run by the Edinburgh social enterprise sandwich shop that employs homeless people – will consist of 10 purpose-built two bedroom homes and a communal building for residents north of the Scottish capital in Granton.
It is hoped that the pioneering project will allow residents to bite back at issues that have troubled them in society as well as adding a fresh social housing offering for those in need.
Shovels are already in the ground on the ambitious project and will help up to 20 people living in unsupported temporary accommodation, shelters, hostels and B&Bs. They will be housed in the village for up to 12 months.
The first home, which was designed by architect Jonathan Avery of Tiny House Scotland, is set to go on public view in St Andrews Square for the duration of the Edinburgh Festival throughout August before it is placed in the village alongside the other dwellings before Christmas.
The energy efficient, eco-friendly, sustainable homes will each have two loft bedrooms, a shared bathroom with a shower, a lounge with a wood burner, and a small kitchen and dining area.
Each home, manufactured by Carbon Dynamics, will be made of sustainable materials and feature transportable housing units which will allow them to easily be relocated in the future
Social Bite co-founder Josh Littlejohn insists that the project will allow people to get themselves back on their feet with a credible alternative to what he believes is a ‘broken temporary accommodation system’ for homeless people.
The village is only a small part of a much bigger answer required to end homelessness but it could be a blueprint for the future
He said: “We’re so pleased that the Social Bite village will be up and running this year and we’re edging closer and closer to creating what we believe can be an effective alternative to a broken temporary accommodation system for people struggling with homelessness.
“The end result will be an inclusive, compassionate community that will provide a vital support network to people who are ready to be helped back into society.
“The village is only a small part of a much bigger answer required to end homelessness but it could be a blueprint for how social enterprise, charity, council and corporates work together on a solution that makes a difference.”
More than 300 of Scotland’s top business and political figures slept rough in December last year to raise money for the scheme in Social Bite’s CEO Sleep Out.
The firm will also pair up with partner Cyrenians – a Scottish homeless charity – to provide support to residents during their stay before helping them rebuild their lives back in society.
The end result will be an inclusive, compassionate community that will provide a vital support network
Littlejohn added: “Only seven months ago we experienced an incredible night with some of the country’s most successful and influential people taking part in our CEO Sleep Out to raise the money that would turn this from a nice idea into a reality and make a real impact to people who need our help.
“Now we’re about to break ground on the site and the first house will be displayed in St Andrews Square throughout August for anyone to come and see.”
Pic credit: Jonathan Avery Tiny House Scotland