Homeless charity rents out two ‘ecopods’ on AirBnB for up to £220 a night
A homeless charity is renting out two ‘ecopods’ on AirBnB for up to £220 a night.
Emmaus is a leading homeless charity in Bristol, but has come under fire for making money by renting space on the popular accommodation site.
He recently opened the tiny modules – which do not meet the minimum space requirements for permanent homes – to help raise funds for his work.
The idea has been criticized by some who say the charity shouldn’t rent space on a website like AirBnB.
But the charity clarified: ‘The pods are an addition to our multi-business site. They will be used to provide long-term support to residents.
“They don’t take up accommodation and are too small to live in, so provide a vacation option that isn’t a potential home.”
A homeless charity has defended its decision to rent two ‘ecopods’ on AirBnB for up to £220 a night
Emmaus Bristol recently opened the tiny pods as part of a larger development on the roof of its headquarters in the city
He recently opened the tiny modules – which do not meet the minimum space requirements for permanent homes – to help raise funds for his work
The charity pointed out that the ecopod project was separate from the rooftop houses project
The pods were named Carmen and Delores.
An AirBnB description of one reads: “A remarkable little place to rest after enjoying the delights of Bristol, with the bars, cafes and restaurants of Stokes Croft on your doorstep.
‘Our Eco Sleep Pods are made from straw fiber insulation and built on a wooden frame surrounding our beautiful silver birch.
‘A hotel room on stilts, you will have a spacious balcony with your own entrance door, a studio bedroom and a private shower room.’
Emmaus Bristol’s chief executive, Jessica Hodge, recently said the charity is working to create a mini-community on the roof of its headquarters, with 11 two-storey one-bedroom houses, 3 single-storey houses -foot of two bedrooms, one of a bedroom on one floor. two-storey house, and space for food culture and shared pleasure.
The planning permission has already been approved.
However, the charity pointed out that the ecopod project was separate from the rooftop houses project.
She said: “When someone joins our Emmaus Bristol community, they work full-time in our stores to learn new skills and develop their CV, and receive day-to-day 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, be it a few months or a few years.
The ‘Eco Sleep Pods’ are made from straw fiber insulation and are built on a wooden frame
Emmaus Bristol defended the decision to put the pods on AirBnB on its Twitter account
“Some of the people we support eventually and naturally want their own home and their own independence, but then struggle to find affordable rental accommodation to move into or overcome significant barriers to private rental accommodation such as cost, competition, credit ratings and references.
“The aim of our rooftop development is to give people the opportunity to live independently whenever they want, while keeping them connected to Emmaus Bristol and the support we can give them if they need it. “
At the time the scheme was announced, a statement said at least 50% of the accommodation would be for rent at Local Housing Allowance (LHA) rates, with the remainder available at market rents.
Houses will be available to people leaving Emmaus as well as others, some through referrals and some through the open market.
Each house will have its own private space but will be well connected to a shared landscaped courtyard and roof garden for common and private use by residents.
However, the charity pointed out that development of the roof had not yet taken place as it needed funding and was separate from capsule development.
Bristol has over 1,000 AirBnb listings.
Bristol Mayor Marvin Rees has previously spoken of the ‘nasty challenges’ they cause.
But the charity hit back, saying the two units were in addition to the development of the roof and would not deprive anyone of a place to sleep.
Xanne Carey, Acting Chief Executive of Emmaus Bristol, said: “It’s really important to note that we are very aware of the housing crisis in Bristol and it was really important to us that in building a new business we not removing any homes from the current housing stock, or using space that could be used for a home.
“We are extremely proud to have achieved this goal, while offering visitors to Bristol the opportunity to support a local charity with their holiday spending.
“We always wanted Eco Pods to be a social enterprise.
“They were purpose built and were never intended as affordable housing as they do not meet legal requirements for minimum living space.
“The Eco Pods are an extension of our multi-business site here in Backfields, using a small amount of airspace above our yard, to help Emmaus Bristol generate the revenue it needs to support 21 Companions.
‘Our companions have their own bedroom with shared kitchen and living areas at our main accommodation site.
“The people we support have accommodation with us for as long as they need it, while benefiting from tailor-made support to rebuild their lives.
“The purpose of ecopods is to provide long-term financial support to the Emmaus community they serve and to the Companions we support now and in the future, and doing so is a way of reducing environmental impact using natural solutions and carbon sequestration. materials.
“Although these units are too small for housing, the principle of prefabricated units that can be lifted is something we are looking at for an entirely separate project for the roof of our building, which will provide affordable housing.
“To that end, the Eco Pods will not only generate significant revenue for us, but they also provide a sample of the type of building materials and design that could be used to develop homes on our roof.
‘We have been granted planning permission to add 15 new houses, made using this method of construction, on the roof here at Backfields House – houses which would be suitable for living, meeting minimum space requirements , areas to grow food and other plants, and provide a community to belong to at the same time.
- An earlier version of this article suggested that the accommodation modules available for rent on AirBnB by Emmaus Bristol were part of the affordable rooftop housing program for which the association obtained planning permission. The article has since been corrected to note that the modules do not meet the minimum space requirement for permanent homes and are separate from the homes on the roof project.