Social Bite ‘homeless village’ house unveiled at Edinburgh Festival

With residents set to move into Social Bite's new village for the homeless before Christmas, the social enterprise is showing off the first home throughout August at the Edinburgh Festival

The first innovative home that will form a new village for the homeless has been unveiled in Edinburgh.

It is expected that residents will move in to the 1.5-acre Social Bite village before Christmas – and one of the 11 purpose-built two-bedroom houses, designed by architect Jonathan Avery of Tiny House Scotland, has made its debut at the Edinburgh Festival.

The scheme is the brainchild of Social Bite – an Edinburgh social enterprise sandwich shop that employs homeless people to give them a chance to regain a foothold on the jobs ladder.

The display home will make the move north to Granton for installation after a month-long residency in the Scottish capital’s St Andrews Square that will allow visitors to inspect it up close.

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.

Social Bite are also on the lookout for volunteers to give festival-goers a quick rundown on the benefits of the pioneering project and how people can get involved. Volunteers will be working alongside staff from the social enterprise firm to spread the word.

Social Bite co-founder Josh Littlejohn, speaking last month, insists that the project will offer credible alternative to what he believes is a ‘broken temporary accommodation system’ for homeless people.

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.”

The social enterprise 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.

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.”

Shovels are already in the ground on the ambitious project and the homes 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 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.

Pic credit: Jonathan Avery / Tiny House Scotland