Plans to help people sleeping rough in Manchester get out of the freezing cold given a warm welcome

  • Wednesday 1 November 2023

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Manchester City Council, working with local partners and health services, has confirmed plans to ensure that no one sleeping rough needs to be out in the cold this autumn and winter.

There is year-round provision, funded by Manchester City Council with support from GMCA, at Etrop Grange Hotel in Wythenshawe, to help people move off the streets and into accommodation with wraparound support to get them back on their feet. Our outreach teams are out routinely walking the streets and connecting people with help.

But as the clocks go back, the nights draw in and temperatures plummet, efforts will be stepped up even further to encourage people sleeping rough to come inside and access the wider support available.

During periods of severe cold, the Council’s outreach team together with Manchester Homelessness Partnership members will be out and about from midnight to 4am, in addition to routine daytime outreach, to ensure people sleeping rough are located and encouraged to come indoors.

Every year councils around the country work with partner organisations to put plans in place for cold weather. Nationally, the benchmark for such plans to come into force is when the temperature is forecast to drop to zero or below for three or more consecutive nights. But in Manchester the temperature only needs to be forecast to drop below freezing for a single night for the plans to be activated and emergency accommodation and assistance provided for people sleeping rough.

Accommodation will predominantly be at Etrop Grange which has 74 bed spaces and can accommodate dogs, a key consideration for some people sleeping rough. Several agencies provide drop-in services here including specialist mental health support from Greater Manchester Mental Health Trust and support with drugs and alcohol issues from Change Grow Live. Urban Medical Village are again providing flu and Covid vaccinations for people accommodated at Etrop Court who want them.

Deputy Leader of Manchester City Council Cllr Joanna Midgley said: “It’s important to stress that we are working all year round to help people get off the streets and access support to help them build a future for themselves.

“But we know that during periods of particularly cold weather some people sleeping rough who might normally be reluctant to accept help are more receptive to it and this is an important opportunity to reach them.

“Learning lessons from previous years, we will be seeking out people where they are bedded down rather than asking them to report to day centres or other provision.

“I’d like to thank all the dedicated people, especially volunteers, in this city working as part of Manchester Homelessness Partnership to tackle homelessness in this city and make this approach possible.

“We are working hard to prevent people becoming homeless in the first place, as well as reducing numbers in temporary accommodation by helping people move on to settled accommodation more quickly but that does not mean that we forget about those comparatively few who find themselves on the streets. Far from it.”

Amanda Croome, Head of Homelessness for Caritas, speaking on behalf of Manchester Homelessness Partnership, said: “Manchester is lucky to have a range of charities that provide support to people who are homeless and we co-ordinate our work through the Manchester Homeless Partnership.

“We work closely with the Council to add value to their provision and ensure that people who find themselves homeless have access to all the support they need to find new homes, including daytime and evening/weekend services with free food, showers, specialist advice, access to health and wellbeing services and supported accommodation for those that need it.

“Every year the very generous people of Manchester, local people, and businesses play an important part in helping people to come off the streets by supporting these charities to ensure that everyone who finds themselves on the streets will get all the support they need to find and keep new safe homes.”

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