A few weeks ago, the Salford Star tried to help a homeless man that had been evicted from his house but there was nowhere in Salford he could go. All the night shelters were full, all the cheap hostels were full – and, eventually, at 1:30am, he had to walk to Sale where the emergency Council social worker had found him a three night B&B.
This case, we understand, is pretty typical. Last week, housing charity, Shelter, revealed that Salford had the second highest ratio of homelessness in the North West (see previous Salford Star article – click here).
Meanwhile, 'regeneration' – defined by Jeremy Corbyn as "'forced gentrification and social cleansing" – has meant the building of swathes of luxury apartments and townhouses in the city amidst a chronic shortage of social housing.
Yet there are many properties in Salford that are currently in regeneration limbo, tinned up, empty and with no current use or demolition on the horizon. To name a few, there's...
Buile Hill Mansion – empty for years with the Council still dithering over a community bid to take it over
Mocha Parade – residents kicked out of the flats above the shops years ago for a demolition that still hasn't happened. Perfect site as it's right next to the Salford Food Bank.
Precinct Estate – the estate with Brydon Close et al is currently being emptied of families for the Pendleton Together 'regeneration'. In the meantime, there are swathes of tinned up empty streets.
The Crescent Police Station – developers failed to get planning permission for the huge empty property last March and, we understand, it is still under the ownership of the Council.
Lancastrian Hall – this superb example of brutalist architecture has been unused for years, and, earlier this month, the Salford Unemployed and Community Resource Centre (SUCRC) and JVA (Joint Veterans Alliance) called for it to be opened up for the homeless... "This is the time to unleash the idea that the late Councillor Paul Longshaw floated about using Lancastrian Hall which has been empty for over ten years" said Alec McFadden of SUCRC
"The Council has said it's full of asbestos but it should make space and do the repairs so we get homeless people off the streets this winter by 25th December" he insisted "We have loads of unemployed and retired building workers in Salford who would come and do a job."
Today that call was echoed by Angela Barratt, of Salford and Manchester Street Support, who works voluntarily and directly with the street homeless...
"People are freezing on the streets, open up buildings for night shelters" she says "Workers and volunteers will do the work for free and everyone would help. Just take the tins off and give us the keys please
"Show compassion for homeless people, it could be us next, and put human rights into action" she adds "Salford City Council should show other places that they care about homeless people in our city and surrounding areas. Sod the red tape, just do it!"