A University of Salford Professional Development Conference titled Solutions To The Housing Crisis, to take place in March, is charging £325+VAT per ticket to hear speakers providing "unique insights into the underlying causes and potential solutions to the homelessness crisis"...
The problem is that, at that price, almost everyone except those involved in the homelessness industry (as it's become) will be excluded. This contrasts sharply with the Housing Ideas Exchange which took place at the Manchester Metropolitan University before Christmas which was free, and to which everyone had an open invite, including politicians, professionals, homeless people and campaign groups (see here).
Hardly anyone in authority actually turned up to that one, to actually mix with real people facing homelessness and vulnerability. At the Salford University conference, behind expensive entry fees to keep the 'scum' out, there will be a session by Salford City Mayor Paul Dennett, on such issues as 'Developing innovative solutions to the problem' and 'ensuring every Greater Mancunian has a safe and stable roof over their head'...
Salford Council's previous 'innovative solution' to housing has been social cleansing on a mass scale, bulldozing as many affordable properties as possible (see previous Salford Star article click here).
Other sessions at the Conference (not confirmed) include Matthew Downie, from Crisis, on 'ensuring that crisis and its policy influencing work is informed and embedded in the lived experience of people who are homeless and in the experience of front-line homelessness services'...And one from Professor Anya Ahmed, Head of Social Policy at University of Salford, on 'Examining the legislation from the perspective of service users'...
"Clearly, at £325 entry, there won't be any service users there or homeless there to share their 'lived experiences'" says Debi Blanchard of Greater Manchester Housing Action "This is just professionals talking to each other. I want to know who is making money from all this? It's so wrong to make money from homelessness."
Greater Manchester Housing Action emailed Salford University's OneCDP Professional Development Department asking if there were any reduced or complimentary tickets available for grass-roots organisations, with the reply that they could apply like everyone else for an Early Bird ticket at £227.50+VAT.
"We call on organisers to make available some free tickets to service users to fulfil the Homeless Partnership claim that co-production and lived experience are valued by the GM Homeless Strategy at all times and levels, not just when it's convenient for professionals to permit the homeless entry or exclude them via ticket price" says Debi.
Meanwhile, attendees can take part in a Panel Discussion and Audience Q&A on 'How can we most effectively improve services to vulnerable homeless households and individuals?'...safe in the knowledge that the 'vulnerable homeless' won't be there to contradict them.
For more details of the Conference click here.
See also related Salford Star articles...
No Compassion As Manchester Homeless Squat Evicted click here
Peel Holdings Salford Building Squatted By Homeless click here
Five Sites That Salford City Council Should Open Up For The Homeless click here