Following a successful weekend for the Bristol Anarchist Bookfair and Radical History Festival more good news has come through from the south-west — solidarity donations to help homeless people whose tent city was burned down on September 9th have more than doubled the campaign target in less than a week.
The £1,000 cash drive by Bristol Homeless Action Movement, which aims to help replace the possessions of seven homeless people who had their tents burned while they were out eating at the Wild Goose soup kitchen, has raised over £2,600 at time of writing.
Bristol Housing Action Movement has a long history of working with Tent City; recently installing a solar panel and helping the residents set up an allotment. They said: “With winter a few months away it is very important that we provide the duty of care that Bristol City Council will not.”
The arson, which took place in undergrowth around a mile to the east of the city centre, saw both tents and bedding set ablaze in what appears to be a very similar MO to several other burnings which have taken place over the last few months.
In June, a couple who had been living in a field next to the old Sorting Office in Cattle Market Road had their belongings burned when they went to get food, a week after a tent was torched Castle Park. In July a homeless woman’s possessions were burnt in front of her by Kingswood arsonists.
Bristol’s homeless community has had a difficult time recently, as in addition to the burnings the local council has also been trying to oust people from parks. Last year Bristol council was heavily criticised by both campaigners and the sitting judge after they tried and failed to impose an injunction against tent sleepers in parks across the entire city — a measure mirrored by Brighton council this year.
Arouud 1,000 people are statutorily homeless in Bristol at any one time as of 2017, while a further 100 or so people were found to be sleeping rough during a research snapshot carried out in 2015 — up 1,200% compared to 2010.