Bristol’s Homelessness Problem

Apart from London, Bristol has the highest number of people sleeping rough in the UK. 

  • According to a report written by Shelter in November 2017, at least 2,674 people are homeless in Bristol (this figure is based on official data but Shelter believes that in reality the number is higher). 
  • A rough sleeping count carried out by Bristol City Council’s Streetlink in December 2017 saw a 14% increase from 2016. This figure does not include those sleeping in unsafe buildings or on friends’ sofas.
  • A Bristol Housing Market report in 2017 revealed high levels of rough sleeping and a lack of affordable housing, with house prices in Bristol rising faster than any other city in the UK.
  • 44% of Golden Key clients have experienced homelessness in the last three months

Homelessness is a killer

According to research carried out by Crisis and the University of Sheffield, homeless people die around 30 years younger than the national average.  Homeless people have a life expectancy of just 47 years, and for homeless women this is even lower at 43 years.

Why do people become homeless?

According to Homeless Link, the most common reason people give for losing their accommodation is because friends or relatives are no longer able to provide support, or because they have experienced a relationship breakdown. However, Homeless Link also believe there are number of other factors at play:

  • Individual circumstances – such as poor physical health, mental health problems, alcohol and / or drugs misuse, bereavement, experiences of being in care and experiences of the criminal justice system.
  • Wider forces – including poverty, inequality, housing supply, unemployment and welfare policies.

Golden Key clients experience a challenging mix of homelessness, long-term mental health problems, dependency on drugs / alcohol and offending behaviour. They also find that being homeless prevents them from being able to access the services they need to tackle the challenges they face.  At Golden Key, we are working with clients and services to find better ways of providing support so that people with complex needs have better outcomes.