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“We need a respectful, mutual listening, free of ideology and predetermined agendas.” Pope Francis, Let us Dream, December 2020

Village offers second bite at life

A new village has opened to provide stable accommodation to homeless people as part of a campaign to eradicate the issue in Scotland.

The Social Bite Village in Granton, Edinburgh will provide a place to live and support for up to 20 people.

The project is made up of 10 two-bed huts with a central hub where residents can socialise and admire views over the Firth of Forth.

Josh Littlejohn, Social Bite co-founder, said: “It feels amazing to see it come to life like this. It’s a really beautiful, safe environment, so hopefully it’s going help lots of people.”

The transportable NestHouses were designed by Jonathan Avery of Tiny House Scotland, comprising of a kitchen-living area, bathroom, two bedrooms and shrubbery outside.

They are built on a 1.5-acre site of vacant council land which has been given to Social Bite on a ‘meanwhile use’ basis, meaning it can be used until the land needs to be developed.

Six residents will move in to the village in June, but it is hoped this will build up to around 20 over the coming months.

No-one with ongoing addiction issues or with ‘dual diagnosis’ will be allowed to take part in the project.

Tenancies are expected to last between a year and 18 months, which mirrors the typical duration homeless people spend living in accommodation such as hostels or B&Bs.

Mr Littlejohn added: “It’s a transitional environment, so every 12 months we hope to welcome 20 new people to the village and ultimately go on to mainstream tenancies.

“If they’re in a B&B or a hostel they’re completely unsupported, completely marginalised and on a negative trajectory.

“We want to try and take people in for the same amount of time, but put them on a very positive trajectory.”

Rent is largely expected to be paid through housing benefit, but once a stable income is established this will be used to pay for lodgings.

Picture: Josh Littlejohn outside the NestHouses. (Jeff Holmes/PA).