New figures revealed by the Government show that rough sleeping in Salford has almost doubled, from 26 people in December 2016 to 49 in December 2017, and the increase over the last seven years has been staggering.
In 2010 just four people were classed as rough sleepers in the city. By 2015 this had risen to 16, with 26 in 2016, and now 49. Many believe that the figures don't reflect the true number, as they are arrived at following a count on one night by Salford City Council. The Government describes them as "single night snapshots of the number of people sleeping rough"...
Elsewhere in Greater Manchester, rough sleeping counts have also increased, with Tameside recording 43 rough sleepers, compared to 19 the previous year; Bolton 17 compared to eight previously, Bury 10 compared to three previously and Manchester recording 94 compared to 78 the previous year.
As the official figures rise, homeless people have taken matters into their own hands, occupying empty buildings and setting up D.I.Y. night shelters. In Eccles, homeless people have taken refuge in an empty office building owned by Peel Holdings.* They face a possession order hearing in court next Monday.
In Manchester, homeless people who took over an empty building on King Street owned by Aviva and set up the 'Homeless Hotel'**, were evicted this morning at 5:30am... "We're all on the streets again" they said in a social media video, adding that they are an "embarrassment" to Greater Manchester Mayor, Andy Burnham.
Burnham revealed plans to tackle homelessness yesterday which included a £1.8million Social Impact Bond "granted to help entrenched rough sleepers, with 50 currently in the process and another 200 referred for help"; a new cold weather plan which will see "emergency support given as soon as temperatures hit freezing in a national first" and "1,000 emergency beds available and used as part of the cold weather plan"... "While the figures are getting worse, our response is getting better" he said...
But Angela Barratt, from Salford Manchester Street Support, outlined the problems that Burnham and his Homelessness chief, Salford City Mayor, Paul Dennett, face...
"Things are just going to get worse unless we have more homes that everyone can afford" she told the Salford Star "The Council needs to use good practice - if they cannot help people facing homelessness or who are homeless, give them correct advice instead of turning them away if they have no connection to the city.
"Another big problem is people getting into rent arrears due to Universal Credit, causing misery across our city" she added "There needs to be money put into a 24 hour hub for homeless people to go for support, and a night shelter. There is too much red tape involved and too much money being poured into the wrong channels. None of this money is going directly to the street homeless people and this is the problem.
"There are lots of groups helping homeless people and picking up the pieces of broken lives and deaths but the City Council needs to do more" she concluded.
For background see previous Salford Star articles...
*Peel Holdings Salford Building Squatted By Homeless – click here
**'Ethical' Aviva Tries To Evict New Homeless Squat – click here
As Salford Homeless Man Dies, Uncle Wants to Know Why It's Not Being reported – click here