Empty buildings opened up as overnight shelters for rough sleepers

Manchester City Council is opening up empty buildings to be used as overnight shelters for the city’s rough sleepers.

The former Hulme Library building and the former Beech Mount Children’s Home in Harpurhey are among the first in a series of buildings which will be opened up to be used by rough sleepers.

The buildings will be opened from next month as part of an ongoing campaign to improve services available for rough sleepers and homeless people in Manchester and make sure more bed spaces are available across the city.

They will be used to make sure overnight accommodation is available over the winter months, but the city council is continuing to inspect other empty buildings across Manchester to see whether they can also be opened.

The city council is also opening up three buildings in other areas of Manchester, which had previously operated as shared houses, creating extra bed spaces to provide temporary accommodation for rough sleepers.

These new buildings, together with other spaces recently opened up by the city council - as well as spaces due to be opened up by faith groups - will mean up to an extra 165 bed spaces will be available across the city for rough sleepers this winter.

Rough sleepers will be referred to the new centres in Hulme and Harpurhey by homelessness organisations, and people will be helped to access the daytime services that exist to support the homeless.

The city council will work with an experienced provider of specialist support for homeless people, which will manage the buildings and provide staff who will be on site overnight.

They will be able to help occupants provide access to a range of organisations that can help them, including by providing access to medical and mental health support and to drug and alcohol services.

The city council’s rough sleepers team will also work with people staying in the buildings and make sure there is support available to help people move on into more stable accommodation.

City centre councillor Kevin Peel said:

"We've been working with council officers on these plans for many months and we're delighted that the buildings are now being made available in time for the cold winter period. This is of course just a temporary solution and both the city council and the charities and agencies we fund are working all year round to make sure every rough sleeper in the city has access to advice and support to get them off the streets permanently."

Visit our dedicated page to find out the latest facts and figures and all of the support available to homeless people and rough sleepers in Manchester: www.citycentrevoice.co.uk/homelessness

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