At lunchtime yesterday Manchester City Council served a possession order on the camp that has been set up in Albert Square to draw attention to the plight of the homeless.
The camp was set up following a Homeless Action march last Wednesday (see previous Salford Star article – click here) and around twenty people are currently staying there, including Scott, a Salfordian who has been homeless off and on for ten years.
"We're doing it because we want them to start building more council houses and housing association flats for people like us to live in" he says "We can't afford these new builds because we can't get mortgages. We want somewhere to go that's not a hostel... Narrowgate is just a stop gap 7pm-7am and then you've still got twelve hours to walk around, that's not the answer.
"We came to the Town Hall square because it is a symbol of the powers that have taken the decisions that have created this homelessness" he adds "They have hiding the problem of homelessness for so long. Homelessness here is chronic, no-one's got anywhere to go and they won't listen. All we want is to be heard."
According to official figures, Salford has just 14 rough sleepers, a figure in itself that has doubled in a year. Salford's Coffee4Craig organisation, which helps the homeless, reckons the number is well over forty (see previous Salford Star article – click here).
Meanwhile a report from Shelter last December, based on Government figures, showed that one person in every 63 in Salford is at risk of eviction, the second highest rate in the North West, and only second to Manchester (see previous Salford Star article – click here).
Instead of solving the problem, Manchester City Council seemed intent on evicting the homeless who have set up tents in Albert Square. However this afternoon, campaigners learned that the possession order has been postponed until next Tuesday.
"Why are people more angry about tents in Albert Square than the fact that we are homeless?" asks Lee, 22, one of the camp's residents.
The most striking poster at the camp reads `KEEP YOUR COINS! I WANT CHANGE'....
UPDATE: 23rd April
Human Rights challenge to Manchester City Council from the Camp - click here