Housing & Homelessness

The poverty issue 23

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These are just snippets – there’s much more going on and the full articles are available here

Motiv8 is a GM programme to help unemployed people aged 25 and over, supporting some of the most disadvantaged and vulnerable people overcome a wide variety of complex issues and barriers to improve their lives and chances of getting back into work. New Charter Homes is leading the Motiv8 programme with support from other Manchester Athena housing providers at Stockport Homes, ForViva, Wythenshawe Community Housing Group and Bolton at Home.

Bolton at Home have two projects under Ambition for Ageing: Working Potential is aimed at carers aged 50+ who want to explore employment or training opportunities and their Social Eating project aims to reduce social isolation by bringing people together using food. Withins Action Group, known as WAG, aim to improve their local area and create opportunities for the local residents and one of the outcomes has been a Community Café with a ‘Snack and Chat’ drop in session.

After asking children to describe what home meant to them First Choice Homes Oldham discovered that it was all about a feeling. Since then they have worked with young people in the Clarksfield and Greenacres neighbourhoods focussing on the concept of place and identity. The project aimed to address their sense of safety and security when using public spaces and to look at how their own behaviour in these places could make other people feel.

ForViva, working in partnership with Salford Council Integrated Youth Services & Fighting Fit Kids ran a pilot programme aimed at helping young women aged between 11 and 16 to raise their aspirations, specifically aiming to develop a greater sense of emotional and physical wellbeing whilst gaining self confidence and self-esteem. Sessions included self-defence, body image, relationships with food including nutrition and cooking, the impact of social media, mental wellbeing, internet safety, relationships and domestic abuse.

Not everyone has the knowledge, or the provisions to make their house energy efficient. One Manchester’s Asset
Management and One Money teams partnered with LEAP to offer residents free energy and money saving services through a series of road shows. This allowed them to help people to understand switching their energy provider, smart meters and how to get the most out of their heating system. By the end of January 2019, they had actively engaged with 116 people.

Regenda Homes’ Oasis Community Kitchen Project is where volunteers create meals for the community using food collected from supermarkets that would otherwise be wasted. Planning and preparing meals and activities for half term, saw over 100 families attending up to 4 times a week for activities, films and food. Meals are prepared and served by the volunteers in a family dining experience. Media such as phones and iPads were banned during the meals to encourage conversation.

More than £90,000 has been ploughed into community projects and good causes in Salford during the past year thanks to Salix Homes Springboard fund. The community grant programme enables Salford-based organisations or initiatives to bid for funding to help support projects that boost community spirit, improve the environment, reduce isolation and promote health and wellbeing. During the past 12 months, recipients have included dance troupes, grassroots football teams, bowlers, computer clubs and community gardening projects.

Six Town Housing’s Chesham Fold Tenant and Residents Association’s Baby Bank is providing parents in poverty with
equipment including cots, pushchairs, toys and baby baths as well as disposable items such as nappies and baby shampoo. Clothes are also available for children up to the age of five. Items are provided on a referral basis, with partnerships set up with local midwives and health workers. The Association also run a weekly youth club for children aged 5 to 16, a foodbank and the ‘Friends of Gypsy Brook’.

Continuing to promote South Manchester Credit Union, Southway Housing Trust deliver an affordable loan scheme ‘Southway Solutions’, now in its 5th year with over 900 tenants having borrowed.  Southway also launched ‘Right Track UC’ loans in January issuing its first loan to reduce the hardship suffered by those having to wait for their first Universal Credit payment. The loan is available to those who haven’t had an advanced payment from DWP and are being supported by Southway’s Advice Services Team.

Every year, Stockport Homes’ Winter Welfare visits to around 500 older and more vulnerable customers enables staff to provide advice and assistance on keeping warm, eating well, checking vaccinations are up to date and making referrals for equipment and adaptations. They are also working in partnership with Stockport Council, Good Things Foundation and local partners as part of the #digiknow network, to create a web of digital skills support centres, making it easier for residents to find help in their local community.

A Christmas food appeal co-ordinated by Wythenshawe Community Housing Group with an army of volunteers to make sure that the most vulnerable people in the community had enough food for Christmas, provided 144 hampers with enough food to feed 425 people, including 243 children. Also following the roll out of Universal Credit, they have been supporting vulnerable and digitally excluded people who require face to face help with their on-line application.

 

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Real Change Rochdale

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New campaign to tackle homelessness launches in Rochdale Borough
by the Sanctuary Trust

Earlier this month, Sanctuary Trust launched a new campaign in Rochdale giving people the chance to donate towards a fund which buys practical items for people who are homeless – things like a deposit for a home, enrolment on a training course or new clothes for a job interview.

The campaign involves many local partners who will access the fund, and the Sanctuary Trust’s Pass It On scheme are proud to be leading it. Pass It On provides training and development opportunities for people who’ve experienced homelessness or related issues, so they know first-hand what it takes to make that ‘real change’ to our lives. With Real Change Rochdale, they are now providing the things to help others do the same.

Real change Rochdale for GM Poverty Action
Real Change is an ‘alternative giving’ model, offering members of the public who are worried about homelessness a way to give other than in the streets. By doing so their money can go further by joining with other people’s donations to buy bigger items, as well as the long-term support provided by charities and voluntary groups. That’s what has been seen from the campaign in Wigan & Leigh which started last year, as well as the long-running Big Change MCR initiative.

The aim of the fund is to help overcome the poverty gap which GMPA has persuasively demonstrated. Too often, the hard work that people who are homeless (and those supporting them) put in to change their lives falls flat for want of a small amount of money. This flexible funding pot gets this to them as quickly as possible so that no one needs be homeless or beg in the streets.

To provide these grants they need to fundraise, though! They had raised nearly £1500 before they even launched – with the help of partners such as Rochdale Sixth Form College who won our ‘Real Change Champions’ trophy for their efforts – but they will need more than that to keep going. Over the coming weeks they will be out talking to local people, businesses, faith groups, community groups and more, and if you would like to help you can:

•  Donate through the BigGive

•  Share the Campaign on your social media pages

•  Invite Real Change to your workplace, event or community group

•  Do your own fundraising for Real Change

More info is on their website. Individually, everyone can all do a bit, and together we can make a Real Change!

John Wigley, Brian Duffy, Mike O’Day & Tony McManus (Real Change Co-Chairs, Sanctuary Trust Pass It On scheme)

 

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A Bed Every Night

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Tackling homelessness this winter in Greater Manchester – A Bed Every Night
by Andy Burnham, Mayor of Greater Manchester

I have always been clear that trying to tackle rough sleeping and homelessness should be something that any Mayor of Greater Manchester should be committed to.

In the 18 months since I was elected this has become my top priority. In that time I have learned a lot about what ending rough sleeping and the need for it actually means and what it will take. It has been a steep learning curve.

Rough sleeping is the most visible form of homelessness and we have adopted the goal to end the need for anyone to sleep on the streets of Greater Manchester by May 2020. This is a full seven years ahead of the government’s target.

We have seen our response to rough sleeping improve and become more co-ordinated. Last winter, across the city-region, we provided an unprecedented number of beds for people as the weather turned colder. This was due to the hard work and effort of our local authorities and their partners in the voluntary and private sectors. This year we want to do even more.

That is what we are all about in Greater Manchester. We are setting a new national standard with our ambitious pledge to end the need for rough sleeping and are now on the verge of a massive step towards achieving it with the commencement of A Bed Every Night at the start of November.

Our goal is to provide a place for every person sleeping rough every night right through the coming winter, from November 1st to March 31st. While we won’t turn people away, this scheme is only available to people whose last address was in Greater Manchester. We simply do not have the resources to open it up to people from further afield and we cannot create an incentive for more people to come here than we can accommodate.

We will be delivering this across every borough in Greater Manchester; we had over 200 places available across the city-region on November 1st. Over the coming weeks we will continue to work to increase that number as well as making sure there is a range of accommodation available, including safe provision for women and places that will look after dogs.

We also want to make sure that it is more than a bed for the night. Ideally, we want to provide a steady base with a hot shower, a hot meal and specialist support to help people begin a journey away from the streets. A Bed Every Night comes at just the right time – we will soon have more provision available through our Social Impact Bond (SIB) and our ground-breaking Housing First programme.

A Bed Every Night is not a sticking plaster but the first stage of a new systematic approach across Greater Manchester to ending homelessness. It will enable us to use every contact with rough sleepers to work with them to deliver more sustainable solutions. Ideally, we want to move people through emergency shelters into the right accommodation option for them, to enable them to stay off the streets.

Underpinning all this is our “whole-society” approach. We know we cannot achieve our goals with public money alone so we are working hard to mobilise the contributions of all sectors of Greater Manchester society – public, private, voluntary and faith – as part of the same strategy. This is the only sustainable way of tackling this chronic issue.

bed every night Andy Burnham for GM Poverty Action

Talking to those who are sleeping rough

I am so grateful to all the people who have contributed to the Mayor’s Homelessness Fund which has so far raised almost £145,000. The Fund is now wholly dedicated to the purpose of supporting A Bed Every Night.

We are also enormously grateful to Manchester City captain Vincent Kompany for throwing his weight behind the cause. Vincent has committed his Testimonial year to raising funds to support A Bed Every Night through his own Tackle4MCR campaign. We need every penny to maximise the success of A Bed Every Might and I hope people will consider supporting us however they can.

We know that there are challenges which we cannot control but, more than ever, I’m convinced that this is the right thing to do. Not least because of the number of deaths on the streets of our country. I hope that with this next development in our approach that we can go a long way towards our goal and that this will be a major step to achieving our target.

I look forward to updating you all on our programme in the New Year. Thank you for your support.

For more information, and to donate to A Bed Every Night, visit www.bedeverynight.co.uk

 

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Enabling Homes

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Article by Katie Wightman of Enabling Homes

Enabling Homes logo for GM Poverty Action articleEveryone has a basic human right to a safe, secure and stable home environment, yet the UK government has failed to ensure the right to adequate housing. With an acute shortage of housing, particularly social and affordable housing, lack of housing security, overcrowding, evictions and homelessness, Enabling Homes is attempting to offer a solution to the current housing crisis, particularly for those in need of special care, support, or protection because of age, disability, or risk of abuse or neglect i.e. those individuals who are ‘vulnerable’.

When it comes to vulnerable individuals and their families, one of the biggest challenges will likely be the ability to access quality accommodation, accommodation which is fit for purpose and ideal for vulnerable clients.

Enabling Homes brings specialist Housing Associations, Government Funding and Care Providers together coordinating these programmes so that Charities or voluntary organisations supporting vulnerable client groups can have immediate access to these places to live, enabling Service Users to get the home they deserve and Care Providers to get under way with their contracts.  This is usually at no cost to the Care Provider at all.

In December 2015 Enabling Homes was founded with the main objective of purchasing suitable living accommodation within community settings for vulnerable adults within the care sector. Most of those individuals we have sourced housing for require support with issues such as mental health issues, learning difficulties, substance misuse, domestic violence, homelessness and daily living independence skills. We are based in the North West of England, but we have acquired properties in the North East and Midlands as well as parts of Wales.

Enabling Homes has developed good working relationships with various charitable housing associations as well as care providers throughout the UK and listens to the needs and requirements of each service. We will research and purchase buildings to create a suitable living environment. Generally, the buildings purchased are developed into self-contained apartments, normally somewhere in the region of 8 – 18 flats, however this can vary dependent on the requirements of the service. Previously we have renovated old unused buildings, such as churches, pubs, shops, old flats and even produced some new builds, to create a high standard of living accommodation that a resident can be proud of, and ultimately benefit from.

We are taking this opportunity to reach out to you as we are passionate about obtaining and developing properties for all individuals who may require some level of support. We are confident, and would be extremely proud, to work with care providers to purchase suitable accommodation for your service. We are more than happy to work alongside any existing partnerships you may have, however we can use our network of charitable housing
associations and/or care providers if needed.

Could you take some time to discuss with us the potential opportunities we could provide? We are happy to present our portfolio and explain in more detail what we can offer. The charitable housing association will be able to provide tenancy support and all apartments provided come fully furnished to a high standard.

Thank you for taking the time to read this, if you wish to contact us to discuss any of the information contained within this article, please do not hesitate to contact us by email For more information please visit our website

 

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Right time, right place

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With One Voice Director Matt Peacock explains why Manchester is the perfect place to host the inaugural International Arts and Homelessness Summit & Festival

I always arrive into Manchester the same way, leaving Piccadilly Station and walking down into the heart of the city past high street shops, criss-crossing tram lines, to the open space of Piccadilly Gardens.  Over the last decade it has been a sobering experience since this is the stretch of Manchester where most of the people who are sleeping on the streets congregate. As in many cities, not everyone who is street homeless is begging and not everyone who is begging is homeless but the visible homeless situation is chronic.

Street homelessness has steadily risen year on year, 1,100% since 2010 and more recently, the situation has become increasingly worse with a noticeable increase in drug use on the streets. Addressing the homelessness situation is so urgently important that it became Andy Burnham’s main election pledge when he was running for Mayor of Greater Manchester.

Fantastic work is already being done. Manchester can boast one of the most innovative homelessness strategies both nationally and internationally. And crucially, one where the voice of people who are or have been homeless is central to decision-making. The Manchester Homelessness Charter was set up in 2016 to create a collaborative and combined approach between all sectors, alongside people who are or have been homeless. A consultation was also recently announced on providing a bed for every person sleeping on the streets between November and March – and Greater Manchester was announced as a ‘Vanguard City’ by the Institute of Global Homelessness.

With one voice summit and festival for GM Poverty ActionAnd this is the context where social movement With One Voice is preparing the first International Arts and Homelessness Summit & Festival in November throughout Greater Manchester.

The people of Manchester would be forgiven for thinking there are more pressing concerns than putting on a set of arts events. The question, ‘why arts?’ has often been asked when it comes to homelessness and other social issues but perhaps it is even more vital to talk about this in Manchester when the situation is so severe.

The new strategy in Manchester recognises that homelessness is often the result of multiple issues coming together – poverty, employment, mental and physical health issues, relationship breakdowns, substance issues and more. The strategy argues that multiple issues call for multiple solutions with healthcare, housing, recovery, community building, investment in people’s well-being and self-esteem coming together to help people who are or have been homeless move forward more successfully long-term. Combining practical care with personal empowerment is key. Manchester and Greater Manchester will be the first authorities in the UK to integrate the arts into homelessness strategies – this is through With One Voice’s Jigsaw of Homelessness Support a model where interventions come together to create a whole picture of support. It is a bold and important step for Manchester to recognise the power of arts and creativity in the homelessness sector.

With one voice festival for GM Poverty ActionAs well as this holistic approach, Greater Manchester is adopting a ‘whole-society’ approach where every sector from business, to faith and culture are coming together to help solve homelessness in the Charter through pledges. With this background, Manchester is exactly the right place to hold the world’s first International Arts and Homelessness Summit & Festival.

And the cultural and homeless sectors have really stepped up to make this happen. We will shortly be releasing details of the brilliantly diverse programme of art and photography exhibitions, poetry projects, a public mural, and many more events.  The Festival culminates in a four-day Summit and conference at The Whitworth where an estimated 300 delegates from at least 15 countries will assemble to discuss arts and homelessness around five main themes: Practice, Policy, Performance, Partnerships and People. We are committed to making this the first fully integrated homelessness event in history with 50% of delegate passes being given to people who are or have been homeless.

We estimate around 20,000 people will see an arts and homelessness project during the week, creating huge exposure for artists and creatives who are or have been homeless.

As with many events of this nature, we are putting a lot of energy into what happens afterwards. This cannot be a flash-in-the-pan and must result in lasting positive change. We will talk more about legacy and long-reaching impact in the coming weeks.

I will make many more walks from Piccadilly Station through Manchester in the lead up to and following the Summit & Festival this November. I am certain the homeless situation in general, including visible homelessness will improve as nowhere else in the world have I seen all elements of the city pull together to tackle homelessness. The cultural sector is standing by to do its part and I am confident that once the world sees how arts and creativity is part of the homelessness solution in Manchester – enriching the lives of people, building their well-being and voice – more cities and regions will follow suit

With One Voice is an international arts and homelessness movement that seeks to connect and strengthen the sector worldwide and is produced by Streetwise Opera. More information about the Festival and Summit is available below.

International Arts and Homelessness Summit and Festival

As cities around the world struggle to solve homelessness, delegates from 15 countries will come together for a Summit and Festival at The Whitworth in Manchester from November 12th – 18th, 2018  to explore and celebrate the role the arts can play in tackling homelessness.

Homelessness is not just about housing, and people who are homeless can suffer from a multitude of challenges from practical ‘house-lessness’ to low well-being, social isolation and stigma. The arts are being used effectively around the world to reduce social isolation by building social networks and increasing both physical and mental health, improve public attitudes, promote understanding towards homeless people and enable homeless people to express themselves so their voice can be heard.

Tickets for all Festival events are free and delegate passes can be purchased for the Summit (November 15th – 18th) here. 50% of delegate passes will be given free to people who are or have been homeless – get in touch for more info.  More information

 

 

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Love for the Streets

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Love for the Streets at the Whitworth

Love for the Street brand for GM Poverty ActionLove for the Streets is a grassroots campaign led by young people who aim to mobilise students to tackle issues of homelessness in innovative ways. Mainstream narratives of homelessness are generally negative and perpetuate unfair stereotypes, but Love for the Streets provides an alternative perspective to address these social inequalities.

Art, music and culture are fundamental aspects of society which bring people from different backgrounds together to create a platform for communication. Love for the Streets is combining these elements to curate a unique exhibition that will showcase art produced in different workshops over eight weeks of sessions. In a collaboration with Manchester School of Art (MSOA), students have been teaching participants from homeless charities, such as Greater Together Manchester and Cornerstone, a variety of creative skills including photography, fine art, graffiti, drawing and collage. These sessions are led by the MSOA students and have provided a great opportunity to form relationships in an engaging and creative environment, between people who might not necessarily have
opportunities to interact on a social basis.

The whole exhibition (open only for one day!) is not just curated to display these final pieces, but to show the journey that these groups have embarked on together – the whole process will be documented and displayed amongst other information about homelessness in Manchester. Expect interactive elements throughout the day, as well as work from David Tovey, who is a formerly homeless artist and activist.  David has been featured at the Tate Modern and founded the first One Festival of Homeless Arts.

Most importantly, this event will be open to all of the participants of this project as well as the general public to ensure that the space is as inclusive as possible and is truly representative of the workshops aims in general. Art work which has been produced at some other amazing charities, the Mustard Tree and the Booth Centre, will also be on display.

What’s more, the day event will also include live music, delivered by both a student jazz band called Top in Deck, and the Booth Street Guitar Group who play soulful renditions of classic tunes. The whole day will be an inspiring and engaging display of what can be achieved when groups collaborate to bring something different to our perceptions of homelessness.

Love for the Steret image for GM Poverty ActionCombining art and music in a stimulating way to make people think about social issues in a different frame is incredibly important, and this event will demonstrate how easy it can be to create free spaces where all members of society are truly welcome, despite their backgrounds and current situation.

Come and join us on Saturday March 10th. 2018, from 10am – 5pm at the Whitworth Art Gallery, Oxford Road, Manchester M15 6ER

You can find out more about Love for the Streets on Facebook

Witten for GMPA by Lily Fothergill

 

 

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Precarious lives

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Precarious Lives: Exploring lived experiences of the private rented sector in Salford

In February 2017, Salford City Partnership launched its new anti-poverty strategy: No One Left Behind: Tackling Poverty in Salford. The University of Salford has been supporting Salford City Council to establish the Salford Anti-Poverty Taskforce. The Taskforce, which is Chaired by Salford City Mayor Paul Dennett, provides research and analysis to underpin Salford’s anti-poverty agenda. On the 31st January – at an event attended by Paul Dennett, Andy Burnham and University of Salford Vice-Chancellor Professor Helen Marshall and Dean of Health & Society Margaret Rowe – we launched the findings of our first Taskforce project, focusing on lived experiences in the private rented sector (PRS) in Salford. This qualitative study focused on the experiences of 29 PRS tenants in Salford, providing unique insights into people’s lives and highlighting three key concerns: affordability, conditions and insecurity.

Affordability

The fees that people had paid varied considerably, with some referring to paying between £1,200 and £3,000 to move into a new property. One person living in an HMO (which they were desperate to leave) talked about the barrier such fees created in terms of being able to move:

“You’re looking at registration fees, you’re looking at guarantor fees, you’re looking at application fees, you’re looking at moving in on a Saturday fee, ridiculous things, quite frankly…I reckon £2,500, if I was to rent an unfurnished, you’d probably be talking about £3,500 to £4,000 to get something to a standard that you’d want to move in to”

But the fees did not end upon a tenant’s occupation of the property, with people referring to administrative fees and exit fees. Some residents had opted for more insecure rolling one-month tenancies as a means of avoiding the renewal fees.

The cost of rent was also a huge concern for many, representing a significant outgoing and intersected with wider issues around financial stability. Only one interviewee felt as though they were ‘doing well’ financially – the remainder appeared to be ‘just getting by’, with some experiencing greater financial difficulties. For some participants the difficulties they faced related to intersecting issues around benefits and low paid employment. For example, one respondent reflected on their experience of Universal Credit and the deductions that accompanied an increase in their working hours

“I used to get Universal Credit … and they’re supposed to help towards your rent, but because I was working 24 hours-a-week they deduct so much off, so it ended up that I was worse off anyway”

Conditions

There was a spectrum of poor conditions described by tenants, ranging from issues with damp and mould, and access problems, through to more extreme cases:

“[Our] little girl’s room, the wall fell off…But when the landlord eventually got it fixed, he just told them to slap some plaster in the holes, and now when it’s raining you can just see it getting wet again…The roofer wanted to redo the whole back roof….But he [landlord] said, no, it would cost too much…the bath’s dropping. It looks like it’s going to come through into the kitchen. It’s dropped about that much…So when you go into the kitchen now the kitchen ceiling’s bowed a bit. It looks like the kitchen sink’s going to fall off, because there’s a big hole in the counter top [chuckles]…Our shower is a hosepipe…connected to the boiler”

However, it was evident that responses to repairs were variable with some residents were fearful of making complaints about the poor conditions for fear of eviction:

“It puts us at risk of eviction, and we don’t want to start annoying [our landlord], because obviously, we’d have nowhere to go”

Insecurity

The research reveals the underlying insecurity that people often felt within the private rented sector and the ‘precarity’ that underpins some people’s lives. This relates not only to the often fixed term nature of tenancies, but the ‘power’ that landlords and agents had in terms of selling properties or changing ownership.

While the research primarily highlights negative experiences, there were positive accounts and discussions of ‘exemplary’ landlords, and we are aware that there will be many landlords and agencies that provide high quality properties and service to their tenants. However, even for those participants who were currently satisfied with their accommodation, it was evident that they had often had negative experiences along their journey through the private rented sector.

The full report is available to download and for further information about the Taskforce and our projects, please contact:

Dr Lisa Scullion (University of Salford)  or  Jacquie Russell (Salford City Council)

Salford Taskforce & SHUSU for GM Poverty Action

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Love for the Streets

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University of Manchester’s Big Change Society – a personal journey and Love for the Streets
By Lily Fothergill

Walking around the streets of central Manchester over the last five years, it has been impossible to not notice the ever-growing number of people sleeping on the streets. Equally distressing is the amount of people walking past, nonchalant and not even engaging in eye contact with anyone sleeping rough. An invisible but almost tangible barrier separates walkers from sitters, creating social divides between the housed and the homeless.

This also used to be me; a white middle class girl brought up in London, I was almost ashamed to talk to homeless people, afraid that I represented everything in the system that had failed them. But after moving to Manchester and witnessing the devastating impacts of slashes to social services and housing, I found this division unbearable. There are a few regulars who sit outside a local Sainsbury’s, and I began to introduce myself, ask their names and have a chat. These chats would sometimes last half an hour or so, getting deep into conversations about social inequality and the state of current affairs, or laughing about shared interests. I came away from every chat wondering why I’d taken so long to initiate that conversation, as it led to a connection which we both enjoyed. I realised there was probably a huge student body who had the same inclinations but felt as awkward as I first had.

Following these interactions, I attended a talk called ‘Honest Discussions About Homelessness’ which featured speakers from a variety of homeless charities in Manchester, namely the Big Change Society, Barnabas and Street Support. I was inspired by this conference and introduced myself to the curator, a chemical engineering student called Jonah. We shared a passion to fight social injustice and we both had a desire to change the stigma around homelessness, particularly around students’ participation and interaction with homeless issues.

It’s easy to assume that it will ‘never be me’; an assumption which many people at university can afford to have, as we all know it’s no cheap privilege. However it is the senseless dehumanisation of homeless people which is excruciating: the ability for some to ignore another person and degrade their basic human needs

A frenzied conversation with Jonah led to planning a campaign to encourage students and young people to engage with issues about homelessness at a deeper, more compassionate level, thus the concept of ‘Love for the Streets’ was born. We wanted to bridge the gap between young peoples’ love for partying with a desire to make a meaningful social impact, and sought to facilitate a deeper network between students and homeless charities. Hence two main tenants of the campaign emerged: events to establish the LFTS brand as a reputably fun night amongst young people, which would also raise revenue through ticket sales; and secondly events which facilitate conversation about the prevalent issue. This would be in the style of conferences, discussions and talks highlighting the issues local charities face to empower youth action and make information about volunteering more accessible.

Big Change Society for GM Poverty Action articleFollowing my conversation with Jonah, I joined the University of Manchester Big Change Society, and began volunteering at Barnabas’ drop-in breakfast centre. I was amazed at how easy this process was, and I went from an intrigued student who felt helpless in the face of such a huge problem, to a regular volunteer at a centre which provides support and basic necessities to people in dire situations. I have now graduated, and have returned to Manchester to ensure this campaign grows and delivers its goal of ensuring like-minded individuals can access volunteering services and make a change they deem meaningful. The response to this campaign has been unprecedented – we now have a team of over 40 people who are willing to contribute their time to this cause, and we have a executive team working tirelessly to ensure we deliver promises to local charities. Essentially, we want young people to immerse themselves in charity endeavours and to break down those barriers which separate ‘us’ and ‘them’, and  challenge the presumption that this issue is too large for individuals to make a difference.

Lily Fothergill article on homelessness for GM Poverty Action

Lily Fothergill

The collective student population of Manchester is roughly 100,000 people, so even if we could encourage just 1% of these to participate in volunteering services, this would increase the number by at least a thousand engaged and passionate individuals supporting charities – there is a huge potential for a very significant impact here which Love for the Streets aims to tap into to help end homelessness in Manchester!

 

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Red Door

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Red Door and homelessness in Bury

Red door article for GM Poverty Action

Lawrence Bettany , Community Services Manager, James Frith MP and Julia Coulton, Community Centres Manager

Homelessness is big news in Greater Manchester at the moment, thanks mainly to the new Mayor of the region Andy Burnham. Recent announcements of measures to help, alongside the new Homelessness Fund are very welcome. But what is the reality of homelessness across Greater Manchester away from the bright lights of city centre Manchester? As new MP for Bury North, James Frith recently went along to the Bury Red Door project to find out first hand about the problems faced by homeless and vulnerable adults.

Red Door is a small project in Bury town centre, which is part of the social welfare charity Caritas Diocese of Salford. They help rough sleepers, homeless and vulnerable adults, including those with drug and alcohol dependencies, and mental health issues. The project provides much needed support in finding temporary and permanent accommodation, and help their clients to access and appeal benefits, and offer help with other services. They also provide a friendly drop in centre where beneficiaries can have a shower, wash their clothes, and socialise with other people.

But there are significantly fewer services available for single homeless people in Bury, particularly for rough sleepers, than in neighbouring areas, such as Manchester and Burnley. Even when the local council does accept a responsibility for a homeless single person, the accommodation options are very limited. In terms of emergency accommodation, the nearest hostels are in Rochdale and Salford, and are often difficult for people from Bury to access. The local connection rule often means that accommodation outside Bury in general is very hard to access. People under 35 years old cannot access private rented accommodation due to Housing Benefit regulations and lots of private landlords are pulling out of the sector, so limiting options even further.

Punitive benefit sanctions are affecting more and more of Red Door clients, and project staff are spending more time supporting clients in appeals against benefit decisions.  With the impending introduction of Universal Credit this situation is only going to get worse.

On just one day recently, three new rough sleepers turned up at the Red Door project and were not able to be helped by the local council. As winter approaches it is more urgent than ever that additional provision is made available in Bury for homeless single people to be able to have a roof over their heads and avoid having to sleep on the streets or on a friend’s sofa. During James’ recent visit, he met and was subsequently able to help one of the Red Door clients who was sleeping rough. That is obviously great for that person, but it should not take the intervention of an MP to get results. Shelter is a basic human right.

But in Bury today the options for shelter are limited for an increasing number of people.

More information about Red Door

 

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Wrap up

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Do something warm this winter: Wrap Up ManchesterWrap up Manchester sponsors for GM Poverty Action

Donations accepted November 13th – 24th, 2017

Do you have an old winter coat you no longer wear that’s taking up space in your wardrobe? Well, now’s your chance to hand it over to someone who really needs it.

That’s what Wrap Up Manchester is all about. It’s a heart-warming, award-winning winter campaign where we ask people like you to hand over your winter coat so we can re-home it through homeless shelters, refugee centres, women’s refuges and other charities. They are given directly to help those most likely to struggle to keep warm during the winter months. Simple. We take any size, colour, and style. We’re into one thing only – doing something warm to keep people warm.

Manchester needs your coat We need men’s, women’s, and children’s coats – especially men’s coats – so we can help keep Manchester warm. Please note, that we are unable to accept fur or any other donated items other than warm coats for Wrap Up Manchester.

Wrap Up Manchester has made donating your coat easy. Simply hand your coat over to at one of the drop off points below in November and we’ll re-home it in December.

You can donate your old coats at any of the venues listed below between the 13th – 24th November 2017. If you prefer, you can also send your coats via CollectPlus. This year we’ll also be helping to wrap up the cities of Birmingham and Glasgow – please see all coat collection places and times below.

How To Donate

If you’d like to send your old coats via CollectPlus, the first 250 labels are completely free to download. You can include as many coats as you like, up to 10kg. Your package can be up to 50x50x60cm in size. The label on your parcel should be clearly placed so that it is easy to scan. You can find out more about packaging and labelling by clicking here.

Please note that we will not be able to receive your coat donation after 24th November.

City Drop off point Dates & Times

 

Manchester Piccadilly Station
Manchester
M60 7RA
13 – 15 November
7am – 11am
Manchester Safestore Self Storage – Old Trafford
City Park
34 Brindley Road
M16 9HQ
13 – 24 November
Mon – Weds: 8am – 6pm
Thurs: 8am – 8pm
Fri & Sat: 8am – 6pm
Sun: 10am – 4pm
Manchester Safestore Self Storage – Worsley
Units 1 & 2
Hazelhurst Road
Worsley
M28 2SQ
13 – 24 November
Mon – Weds: 8am – 6pm
Thurs: 8am – 8pm
Fri & Sat: 8am – 6pm
Sun: 10am – 4pm
Manchester Safestore Self Storage – Altrincham
1 – 2 Atlantic Street
Altrincham
WA14 5FA
13 – 24 November
Mon – Weds: 8am – 6pm
Thurs: 8am – 8pm
Fri & Sat: 8am – 6pm
Sun: 10am – 4pm
Manchester Safestore Self Storage – Oldham
189 Manchester Road
Oldham
OL8 4PS
13 – 24 November
Mon – Weds: 8am – 6pm
Thurs: 8am – 8pm
Fri & Sat: 8am – 6pm
Sun: 10am – 4pm
Stockport Safestore Self Storage – Stockport
Bryant House
61 – 63 Wellington Road North
Stockport
SK4 1HS
13 – 24 November
Mon – Weds: 8am – 6pm
Thurs: 8am – 8pm
Fri & Sat: 8am – 6pm
Sun: 10am – 4pm
Birmingham Human Appeal Shop
522 Stratford Road
Birmingham
B11 4AJ
13 – 15 November
10am – 6pm
Birmingham Safestore Self Storage – Birmingham South
Unit 4
Clyde Street
Birmingham
B12 0NY
13 – 24 November
Mon – Weds: 8am – 6pm
Thurs: 8am – 8pm
Fri & Sat: 8am – 6pm
Sun: 10am – 4pm
Glasgow Safestore Self Storage – Glasgow Southside
588 Lawmoor Street
Dixon BLazes
Glasgow Metropolitan Area
G5 0TY
13 – 24 November
Mon – Weds: 8am – 6pm
Thurs: 8am – 8pm
Fri & Sat: 8am – 6pm
Sun: 10am – 4pm

Wrap up Manchester for GM Poverty Action

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