Bristol

Pavement letters urge homeless people in Bristol to get help

Lola holding her letter Image copyright Bristol City Council
Image caption Lola became homeless with her two children in 2019 and has written one of the pavement letters

Letters from people who have been homeless have appeared on pavements in Bristol to try to help others in similar situations.

The "I've been there" messages are from three people who previously found themselves homeless and offer advice and encouragement

They include addresses and web addresses for support services.

Bristol has seen rough sleeping rise over the past five years with about 117 people a night on the streets.

The letters have been printed on pavements in the city centre area and will remain in place until the end of February.

Image caption The letters are appearing on pavements around Bristol in an attempt to reach out to people who are sleeping rough or at risk of being homeless

Lola, 40, from Barton Hill, became homeless with her two children in 2019.

In her letter she said she "never thought it would happen to me".

A knee operation meant she was not working and realised there was "nowhere affordable in Bristol if you are on housing benefit".

She declared herself homeless to the council and was given temporary accommodation but felt "like a failure as a mum".

She wrote: "I know things might be difficult for you, and you might be scared, but there is help and support out there."

Lola is now living in a council flat with her two children and working for charity St Mungo's full-time.

'Still fighting'

John's letter says he was sleeping rough at 17 and addicted to drugs.

"There were a lot of services trying to help me, but at that point, I wasn't ready," he said.

"After 13 years on the streets I tackled my addiction and got into supported housing. I am living proof that there is a different life for you."

In another letter Danni, aged 24, shares how an abusive childhood saw her living in hostels.

She wrote: "I eventually reached out for help. I'm in a much better place now and even have hopes and dreams for the future. I could have given up a number of times, but I'm still here, and I am still fighting."

The writers' last names have not been given to protect them, a Bristol City Council spokesperson confirmed.

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