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PROTEST OUTSIDE 325 A TICKET SALFORD UNIVERSITY HOMELESSNESS CONFERENCE
 

Star date: 15th June 2018

HOMELESS EXCLUDED FROM HOMELESSNESS CONFERENCE

There was a lone protester outside Salford University's Homelessness Conference this morning, unhappy that homeless people were actually excluded from the 325 per ticket event.

Speakers included Salford City Mayor, Paul Dennett, and Greater Manchester Mayor, Andy Burnham, but protester, Iain Hilton, argued that it "excludes the only demographic that the whole conference is all about...homeless people".

Full details here...


Salford University Homeless Conference Protest Salford University Homeless Conference Protest Salford University Homeless Conference Protest
click image to enlarge

"The homeless situation is a characteristic of people not being able to access homes, it is not the characteristic of there not being enough homes. And that's the message we need to get out to people..." Iain Hilton


At the gates to Salford University's Adelphi House on the Crescent this morning, one lone campaigner, Iain Hilton, and his dog are outside the 325 per ticket Homelessness Conference with a sign reading Stop Homeless Exclusion...

"I'm here to protest homeless exclusion, which is the phenomenon where you get conferences like this that cost about 200-300 for delegates to attend on homeless issues...which excludes the only demographic that the whole conference is all about. Homeless people, grass roots homeless charities and outreach teams can't actually attend" he explains.

Inside the conference, speakers like Salford City Mayor, Paul Dennett, and Greater Manchester Mayor, Andy Burnham, are coming up with their solutions to homelessness...but outside, Iain, who has been homeless on and off since 2001, has his own ideas...

"I've seen the agenda and they are discussing some good points" he says "but there's a lot of homeless issues that are getting left out; things like the poverty premium, homeless exhaustion, homeless recidivism, homeless mortality rates, anti-homeless prejudice, homeless exclusion itself and, obviously, the street and social cleansing that goes on that tends to push homeless people out of city centres so they are not seen by the public..."

Indeed, the Salford streets all around where Iain is stood are testament to that policy. Across the road is Fred Done's Black Horse development of unaffordable apartments...around the corner Adelphi Wharf, another massive block of luxury apartments, is being built, and a few hundred yards away the English Cities Fund developments at Carpino Place and Timekeeper Square saw townhouses fetching over 300,000...

...Oh, and a few yards away from Iain's protest is the site destined to be the entrance to Salford's new 'iconic' pedestrian bridge to The Meadow, which is currently gobbling up thousands of pounds in Section 106 money to pay for it, as opposed to affordable housing...

"It is nauseating" he understates "We're told that there's a housing crisis. There's not a housing crisis. There's around 300,000 homeless people, including hidden homeless like sofa surfers and stuff, in the UK; and there's about 200,000 long term empty properties, which are just not being opened up, to inflate the housing market and price people out.

"The homeless situation is a characteristic of people not being able to access homes, it is not the characteristic of there not being enough homes" he insists "And that's the message we need to get out to people."

Iain even has a helpful board listing all the homeless issues, should anyone want to know... "None of the delegates who passed by me engaged with me" he sighs "Just one member of the public who offered me some money."

While we are talking a woman from Salford Professional Development, which is organising the conference, comes out with a coffee, some biscuits and a bowl of water for the incredibly cute dog...but there's no invite inside.

"We can solve homeless tonight if we have the political will but we have to open those homes up" Iain continues "I think some of the delegates get it to some degree but they are still on about building affordable housing and building new homes when, in actual fact, all we need to do is open up the homes that are already there."

Iain currently has a place to stay after 17 years of on-off homelessness with his dog, and is convinced that politicians are barking up the wrong tree on the issue...

"Multiple things affected me while I was homeless but the number one cause was a lack of available housing options" he explains "I've had mental health and alcohol addiction problems but none of them really excluded me from being housed.

"The lie that homelessness is caused by mental health or addiction or crime is exposed because we don't make criminals homeless, there are thousands of people with mental health conditions who aren't homeless and with substance addiction who aren't homeless" he adds "That's not what is causing homelessness it's caused solely by our political policies which seek to create homelessness."

So what does Iain think about Andy Burnham's attempts to end street homelessness by 2020?

"It's admirable that he's got this idea and is trying to do what he can but the problem he faces is that he doesn't really hold any power" he responds "Everything goes down to Paul Dennett in Salford and Richard Leese at Manchester. I understand that Dennett is more progressive than Leese but neither have the political will to do anything about it, and without that Andy Burnham's hands are tied. He can offer the odd grant to people to help outreach teams but he can't really do much to change the policy..."

...Which is all a bit sad because Paul Dennett is in charge of Andy Burnham's homelessness portfolio. And while housing is seen as an investment offer to rich investors, with cheerleaders Leese and Dennett on the sidelines, nothing is going to change.

Never mind Iain Hilton stood on the outside of the conference...he should have been invited in to give some home truths...


Dave wrote
at 09:12:25 on 18 June 2018
Now don't you lot start knocking Salford Professional Development Ltd. This is a wonderful company fully owned by our great university. Latest accounts from companies house show that after tax it made 783,000 last year on 4.8million turnover. they had expenses of 2.6 million, I suppose this is things like fees and travel expense for the guest speakers and the like. I wonder if Andy and Paul got paid for speaking? If so , what did they do with the money. Of course, this is none of my buissness ,none of yours as well, but we'd all like to know wouldn't we. I used to know a uni professor, and he told me that he got 5 or 6 hundred quid when he went to other places, that was a few years back though.

Dave wrote
at 09:12:14 on 18 June 2018
Just thinking. we know Andy and paul were there, but who else was? Did City West and Salix send anyone? How about Salford council, and all the other councils? What about the Sally army? they are probably the best experts on homeless people in the country, were they there? Can't see the Sally army paying for tickets though, they don't waste money. Can someone do a freedom of information thing to find out how many tickets Salford council bought?

Yvette Holden wrote
at 20:02:24 on 16 June 2018
Corrupt officials, corrupt government people need to start organising properly because things are only going to get worse! These people do not do fair or just, they do line their own bank accounts, pricing of the tickets was ensuring no homeless could attend! These conferences are only helping the wealthy they do naff all for those that need help 😡 its a big farce! We all should vote for independent MPs keep the Tories, Labour, Liberals out of Westminster and out of councils!!

Angela P Barratt wrote
at 14:44:06 on 16 June 2018
This is a disgrace. #Lackofaffordablehousingisanationalshame #4millionaffordablehomesneeded #HomelessnessIsANationalShame

Bob the regular wrote
at 14:43:17 on 16 June 2018
Don't listen to the load of bollocks that I normally talk. Just read what that lad Iain says. Then read it again. He is bang on right 100%. Housing is just being used as a rod for all our backs, used by all politicians. Thanks Iain, best of luck mate.

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