A HOMELESS charity has sparked fury after it rented out its affordable housing pods on AirBnB for up to a whopping £220 a night.
It has recently opened the tiny pods as part of a larger development on the roof of its headquarters in the city.
The development was meant to be a stop gap for those without an address who are leaving its supported housing services.
But two of them have recently sprung up for hundreds of pounds a night and are available for the public to stay in.
“Are you kidding?” said one disgusted Tweeter.
“AirBnB is one of the leading causes of gentrification and rent increases in urban areas – which leads directly to homelessness!
“Have you considered that you could’ve just let homeless people live here instead? Disgraceful.”
But the charity replied: “The pods are an addition to our multi-enterprise site.
“They’ll be used to provide long term ££ support for residents.
“They don’t take from housing stock and are too small for living so provide a holiday option that isn’t a potential home.”
But others were furious at the move too, especially as Bristol has seen an explosion of AirBnB lets, forcing some out of their homes to make way for tourists.
“Something seriously wrong when you have homeless families in hotels and tourists staying in private homes,” another said.
“So many profiting off the guise of charity. Sickening,” said another.
Another added: “Do you think homelessness could be anything to do with properties being built to generate income, not to actually house people in permanent homes?”
Another added: “Why not build these facilities to house the homeless?” while another said: “This should be illegal.”
Emmaus Bristol chief executive Jessica Hodge said the charity had created a mini community on the roof of its HQ, with 11 one-bedroom, two-storey homes, 3 two-bedroom single-storey homes, one one-bedroom single-storey home, and food growing and shared amenity space.
She said: “When someone joins our Emmaus Bristol community, they work full-time in our shops to gain new skills and build up their CV, and receive daily support, mentoring and training so they can rebuild their life.
“There is no time limit on the support we provide, and people can stay with us for as long as they need, whether that is a few months or years.
“Some of the people we support eventually and understandably want their own home and their own independence, but then struggle to find affordable rented homes to move into or meet significant barriers to private rented accommodation such as cost, competition, credit ratings and references.
“The aim of our rooftop development is to give people the option to live independently when they are ready to, but still keep them connected to Emmaus Bristol and the support we can provide if they need it.”
At the time the scheme was announced, a release said at least 50% of the homes will be for rent at Local Housing Allowance (LHA) rates, with the rest available at market rents.
The homes will be available to people moving on from Emmaus as well as others, some through referrals and some through the open market.
Each home will have its own private space but will be well connected to a shared landscaped courtyard and rooftop garden allotment for both communal and private use by residents.
An AirBnB description of one of the pods reads: “A remarkable little spot to rest your head after enjoying the delights of Bristol, with the bars, cafes and eateries of Stokes Croft on your doorstep.
“Our Eco Sleep Pods are made using straw fibre insulation and built on a timber frame surrounding our lovely silver birch tree.
“A hotel room on stilts, you’ll have a spacious balcony with your own front door, studio bedroom and private shower room.”
The pods have been christened Carmen and Delores.
Bristol has more than 1,000 AirBnb homes.
The Mayor of Bristol, Marvin Rees, has previously spoken about the “wicked challenges” they cause.
But the charity hit back, saying the two units were in addition to the rooftop development and would not deprive anyone of somewhere to sleep.
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