Bristol: The Hub drop-in homeless advice centre re-opened by squatters

For the past two weeks The Hub in St Paul’s, the former drop-in centre for homeless people, has been occupied by squatters in protest against the cuts to homeless services.

The recently-closed drop-in centre provided emergency housing information for homeless people without the need for an appointment. Thanks to its closure, those seeking housing advice from the council must first get a referral to see an advisor at the main offices.

Council spokespeople cited violent outbursts, such as windows being broken, as the reason for its closure. But with Bristol City Council being forced to slash its budget for homeless services by £190,000, charity workers and many from the homeless community are convinced that The Hub’s closure has more to do with vicious spending cuts.

The squatters and activists now occupying the building are opening the centre from 12-6pm every Saturday, Sunday and Monday, providing free coffee, tea, food and advice on self-help housing. They are also helping out anyone who arrives at the hub believing it’s still open, giving them advice on how to get an appointment at the council buildings.

With cuts to housing benefit potentially doubling the numbers of homeless people around the country, grassroots services such as the re-opened Hub could prove essential help for the community in the face of severe cuts to funding and services.

by Stokes Croft Town Crier