Homelessness soars by 20% - campaigners blame 'callous' government

Tony Gosling tony at cultureshop.org.uk
Sat Jan 24 01:48:30 GMT 2015

Number of homeless soars by 20 per cent as campaigners blame 
'callous' government policies


22, 2015 08:54
    * By 

The council accepted legal responsibility for 628 vulnerable people 
with nowhere to live in the 12 months to September

The number of Mancunians classed as officially homeless has gone up 
20pc in a year.

The council accepted legal responsibility for 628 vulnerable people 
with nowhere to live in the 12 months to September.

That compares to 522 the year before.

Councils only have a legal duty to re-home people if they tick three 
specific boxes.

They must have a right to live in the UK, be 'unintentionally' 
homeless - so not, for example, because they have been evicted thanks 
to rent arrears - and considered in 'priority need'.

Those in priority need will either have children living with them, be 
pregnant, be aged 16 or 17, a young care leaver or are homeless 
thanks to a disaster such as a fire or flood.

Analysis by the M.E.N. shows those in that situation in 
are disproportionately likely to be black, while more than a third 
are single mums.

At the end of September, there were also 11 families in the city who 
had been living in emergency bed and breakfast accommodation for more 
than six weeks.

Meanwhile, Manchester's 'cold weather' drop-in service for the 
homeless - which kicks in when three days of sub-zero temperatures 
are forecast - saw 60 people at the weekend alone.

The news come after charities politicians warned before Christmas of 
a surge in city centre rough sleepers.

Manchester Labour councillor Daniel Gillard, who led a taskforce on 
the issue late last year, blamed the government for 'callous' cuts 
policies, adding: "We are paying the price for an uncaring attack on 
the north."

statutory homeless figures have stayed relatively static year on 
year, but went up 72pc in the three months to September, from 25 to 42.

Jonathan Billings, who runs the town's homeless shelter, said he 
wasn't surprised by the latest statistics - which are collated by the 
government using council figures.

He said: "Just about every other statistics seems to be rising, 
evictions, rough sleepers, and benefit sanctions."

'Severe weather' service helps scores of rough sleepers

Manchester's new 'severe weather' emergency homeless service has 
kicked in - helping out scores of rough sleepers in just one weekend.

Normal protocol is abandoned when freezing conditions are 
foreacst  for three days and anyone on the street is automatically 
directed to a drop-in service at the Booth Centre on Pimblett Street.

It aims to ensure nobody dies on the streets during cold weather.

Hot food and drink is handed out by volunteers and staff from a range 
of agencies - who will find emergency accommodation for anyone in need.

The council has identified places in hostels across the city for when 
the need arises.

Between Friday and Sunday, 60 people were helped into emergency 
accommodation there - not all of them from Manchester, but also 
Salford, Oldham, Ashton and Bury.

Outside hours the emergency number for all homeless people is 234 5001.

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