A community meeting is being held to discuss the long term future of St Anne’s House.
The building is currently used as a 24-hour Winter Shelter and local residents are now being offered the first chance to view and discuss proposals to convert it into affordable housing.
The option currently being explored would see the building converted into 28 one and two bedroom flats, all of which would be affordable. There would also be community space for the local neighbourhood.
As any proposals for the building will need to go through the planning, legal and procurement process, it is unlikely there would be any work on site until spring 2021. Therefore, an option to keep the building open as a year-round night shelter will also be discussed with residents.
The council has also made a bid to government for money to fund two shelters next year, with alternative buildings are also being looked at alongside St Anne’s House.
The conversion option has the support of the St Anne’s Neighbourhood Steering Group, but at this stage, no decisions have been made.
Councillor Paul Smith, Cabinet Member for Housing, said: “St Anne’s House has been a fantastic success as a shelter. Last year we were able to support 59 people, with a large majority of them going on to find long term accommodation.
“We have applied for funding to keep it open for throughout the year while we consider the long term use of the building, but we want to make sure we have the support of the local community. This will stop it from being boarded up and standing empty when it could be continuing to help people.
“We have an ambition to turn the building into 100 per cent affordable accommodation. Building housing that people can afford is the only real way that we can tackle the homelessness problem we have in Bristol – which is mirrored across the rest of the country.”
St Anne’s Shelter, welcomed 59 homeless people during its first year, and reopened last October for its second winter. The shelter is currently due to run until March 2020.
Commissioned by Bristol City Council and run by St Mungo’s, 76 per cent of clients moved onto more stable accommodation in the first six months it was open.
As well as providing much needed bed spaces over the cold months, people referred into St Anne’s Shelter are given intensive support to help them find a route away from rough sleeping on the streets.
Gareth Mercer, Manager of St Anne’s Shelter, said: “We are excited to explore the possibility of keeping St Anne’s Shelter open throughout the next year on a temporary basis.
“Because we are able to offer 24 hour support away from the city centre, we have seen some really positive outcomes for people who have stayed at St Anne’s Shelter over the last two winters. This vital service has offered clients the space, time and support they have needed to move towards longer term accommodation.
“Rough sleeping is dangerous all year round. We would be delighted to keep this essential service open throughout 2020 to support more people away from the streets.
“We genuinely value the support and feedback we’ve received from the local community over the last year and intend to build on our Residents’ Group and Good Neighbour Plan if the shelter does remain open.”
The meeting will take place at St Anne’s Infant School on Monday, 27 January, at 6pm.
…… News provided by Bristol City Council