The Night is Long Without a Home is an exhibition of photographs by Ian Usher, documentary photographer and artist of homeless hostel residents and workers – in their own words.
In fact, the title is from a description by John of the loss and sorrow of homelessness.
The exhibition is organised by a few of us on behalf of Bristol Foundation Homeless Residents’ Association.
Due to drastic council cuts, the hostel residents may lose their hostel homes, and be made homeless again.
How many people would you say are homeless in your city?
According to Bristol city, only nine (this sometimes rises to 11).
I remember before the 1980s, the only people you saw sleeping rough, were tramps – gentlemen of the road. But since then it has all changed – we see young people on the streets.
How can this happen in one of the richest countries in the world?
The UN makes visits to two countries every year to report on problems. This year, it was the UK’s turn because of its housing crisis. Here is the UN rapporteur’s report.
Empty offices lie empty, testaments of investment – while our youth sleep in doorways without prospect of employment or home.
If ONLY our society believed in kindness.
If ONLY our society understood that prevention is more effective (and less costly) than cure.
Give vulnerable people a stable home and a bit of support, and you cut down on other, more expensive, services, such as hospitals and prisons.
How we treat our homeless tells us all we need to know about the world we live in.
What has this to do with food? I mean, this is a food blog, right?
Well, here is a breakfast (stewed plums and granola and yogurt with an expresso) I had last week at The Canteen in Hamilton House in Stokes Croft, Bristol.
OK, quick diversion as I explain link between Hamilton House and homelessness.
Hamilton House was a defunct office block the council planners wanted to demolish – now turned into a groovesome hub of creative activities run by Coexist. (I am proud to say my office is here, along with 200 other tenants, including Afrika Eye Film Festival, and Tribe of Doris).
Bristol Foundation Housing houses and supports single people who would otherwise fall through the net, people who need support to break the homeless cycle but are not considered sufficiently ‘high priority need’ for emergency accommodation by Bristol City Council.
Working with the Probation Services and others around Bristol, BFH has reduced re-offending rates by more than 50%, probably saving the taxpayer some £20 million each year.
These are the hostels that had their funding lifeline cut in August. This (free) photographic exhibition features BFH hostel residents and workers, in their own words.
Hope you can get along to the exhibition in Hamilton House, Stokes Croft, BS1 3QY which opens tonight and runs until 9 pm, 5 November.
And please do sign the Bristol Foundation Homeless Residents’ Association petition at Change.org.