A new winter night shelter for longer-term rough sleepers with the most complex needs is about to open in a church near the city centre.
The Manchester City Council-funded shelter, run by Riverside and made possible by the Church of England Diocese of Manchester, will have bed spaces for 20 people. It will operate every night from tonight, Friday 22 December, until March 2018.
The night shelter – which is in addition to the existing year-round range of temporary and emergency accommodation and extra indoor spaces when the temperature drops to zero or below – will help another 20 rough sleepers off the streets. As they are supported and enabled to move into temporary accommodation, shelter will become available for further rough sleepers.
Councillor Bernard Priest, Deputy Leader of Manchester City Council, said: “Helping rough sleepers off the streets and into accommodation, then providing the wraparound support they need to help them build more positive and stable lives is at the heart of the work that the council and its partner organisations are doing to tackle this challenging issue.
“This extra shelter will add to the range of existing provision and I’d like to thank the diocese for their compassion and support.”
Eleanor Watts, Riverside’s Area Manager of Care and Support, said: “It is fantastic that additional night shelter provision is available for rough sleepers in Manchester whatever the weather. It is an enhanced night shelter which means that there will be support work provided during the day to help entrenched rough sleepers off the streets and get them in to accommodation in the long-term.”
The Rt. Revd David Walker, Bishop of Manchester, said: “These are vital services for some of the most vulnerable in our society and it is our privilege to be working with partners from the City Council and Riverside to deliver them at this time. We are living out our commitment to place the church at the heart of local communities and transform lives for the better.
“I am especially grateful to the local parish and priest for opening their hearts and their doors to this project.”
Andy Burnham, Mayor of Greater Manchester, said: “It is great that all partners have pulled together this week to open this shelter before Christmas and I would like to thank them for going the extra mile. At this time of year things are especially tough for those who are sleeping rough. Manchester City Council, the Diocese of Manchester and Riverside deserve praise for working to open this new shelter which will provide much needed support and respite for people who could otherwise spend Christmas living on the streets.
“I make no apologies for stating that current rates of homelessness in Britain make this a humanitarian crisis. However, this accommodation along with the other provision Greater Manchester has put in place, will make a difference. In Greater Manchester we are building a strong partnership between all sectors - public, private, voluntary and faith, and we will not stop until we have ensured that by 2020 everyone has a safe and secure place to stay.”