Bristol homeless charity lists two holiday eco-pods in Stokes Croft on AirBnb

The move has drawn some criticism online
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A homeless charity has responded to criticism on social media after it listed two eco-holiday pods in Bristol on AirBnb. Emmaus Bristol received planning permission for the two pods in Stokes Croft in 2020 - and on November 4, the charity advertised the Airbnb listings on Twitter.

The charity say the pods will generate income for the charity, as well as providing work experience for its ‘companions’. The group provides shelter and work to homeless people who join its community as part of a journey of personal development.

The charity’s main source of funding is through trading at its shops, followed by donations and legacies as well as grants. But its latest idea for a source of income - the listing of the two holiday pods above its office at Backfields House on Airbnb - has attracted some criticism online.

One of the pods, called Carmen, costs from £82 a night, while the other, called Delores, costs from £77 a night. AirBnbs have been blamed for causing disturbance in neighbourhoods, and impacting business. The head of the Bristol Hotelier Association wants an Airbnb exclusion zone in the city.

Reacting to the charity’s Airbnb listings on Twitter, one person said: “Are you kidding? Air BnB is one of the leading causes of gentrification + rent increases in urban areas - which leads directly to homelessness!”.

Another said: “Do you think homelessness could be anything to do with properties being built to generate income, not to actually house people in permanent homes? Why not build these facilities to house the homeless? “

In response, Emmaus Bristol tweeted: “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 & are too small for living so provide a holiday option that isn’t a potential home.”

The group shared news on its scheme for 15 low-cabon affordable eco homes, also at Backfields House in Stokes Croft. The two holiday eco-pods are not part of the same development - but will support it, says the charity.

Inside the Carmen Eco-pod advertised on AirBnb by homeless charity Emmaus Bristol (Pic credit: Airbnb/Emmaus)Inside the Carmen Eco-pod advertised on AirBnb by homeless charity Emmaus Bristol (Pic credit: Airbnb/Emmaus)
Inside the Carmen Eco-pod advertised on AirBnb by homeless charity Emmaus Bristol (Pic credit: Airbnb/Emmaus)

In its update to the Charity Commission, the charity said it had homes in St Pauls and St George with a total of 38 bedrooms for companions. Work experience offered includes eBay sales, cooking and retail.

Average occupancy of its homes was 83% across the year up to June 2021.