Manchester City Council

The Council & democracy News - November issue

An update about homelessness in Manchester

Plans for a Council-run homelessness prevention centre – designed to provide temporary accommodation and support for people who have just lost their homes while they get back on their feet – have been approved.

We will open the 38-bed Longford Centre in January, once the building – a former residential care home – has been refitted.

The centre will be staffed round the clock and has been created to help single people and childless couples new to homelessness who have been referred by Council homelessness services and other support organisations.

It’s intended to supplement the range of support available, which includes some fifty different accommodation offers, each providing support for a different group of people and meeting different needs.

Meanwhile, preparations to provide further support for anyone finding themselves on the streets during the cold winter months are taking place.

Co-ordinating with existing shelters run by voluntary sector organisations, the Council will fund an extra shelter for up to 20 rough sleepers with the most complex needs every night from December through until March. This will be staffed by experienced workers who’ll provide support and advice for people sleeping rough. They will also refer them to services that can help them address issues such as substance misuse and other health-related problems, and help them find longer-term accommodation so they do not need to return to the streets.

This new shelter will co-ordinate with the work of other outreach services, as well as day a centre and evening drop-in sessions that support rough sleepers.

Some 90 extra beds that were created last winter will continue to be provided alongside other contingency plans for bad weather.

Councillor Bernard Priest, Deputy Leader of Manchester City Council, said: “These measures are part of our continuing response to the challenge of homelessness. We are working hard both to help prevent people becoming homeless in the first place and to provide accommodation and, crucially, support to help anyone who does to be able to move on to independent accommodation and a brighter future.

“People are being helped to move off the streets and forward in their lives, but it’s an ongoing challenge. Welfare and legal changes and the impact of austerity mean the numbers of people becoming homeless nationally, and especially in big bustling cities like Manchester, are continuing to increase. We are determined to do all we can to help the individuals affected. But it will need concerted action at a local, regional and national level to ease the underlying causes of this situation.”

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