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NEW ECCLES HOMELESS SHELTER IS SAVING LIVES
 

Star date: 20th November 2018

OLD SURGERY EMPTY FOR 20 YEARS OCCUPIED AS HOMELESS SHELTER

"What these guys are doing here is saving lives...without this place we would be out in the cold at this time of year" Stacey

A new homeless shelter has opened in Eccles, as an amalgamation of organisations has come together to occupy an old surgery that has been left empty for twenty years.

Around a dozen people have taken refuge in the shelter, including Stacey, who was faced with a choice of staying in a seriously abusive relationship or living on the streets before finding the group.

Full details here...


Eccles Homeless Shelter Opens Eccles Homeless Shelter Opens Eccles Homeless Shelter Opens
Eccles Homeless Shelter Opens
click image to enlarge

Incredibly an old three floor publicly owned surgery in Eccles has stood vacant for around twenty years while people are desperate to get a roof over their heads. Now the building has been spruced up by volunteers and occupied as a homeless shelter as the nights get colder and colder.

Around a dozen people have taken up residence in the building, ranging from those with complex needs to Stacey, who was about to face the choice of staying in a seriously abusive relationship or living on the streets...

"What these guys are doing here is saving lives" she says "Without this place we would be out in the cold at this time of year. I've got a dog so it was either stay in that abusive relationship, go in a tent or come in with these guys. They literally saved me from going onto the streets. It's saved my life in two ways."

All the windows have Section 144 notices displayed, which means the residents can only be forced to leave by a County Court or High Court order. In the meantime, the Manchester Solidarity Centre, supported by Salford and Manchester Street Support, is bringing in food, clothes and other essentials to help, not only people on the streets but also local people on the breadline, having set up a foodbank in the building.

"A group of us came together and networked because we don't want any more deaths on the streets" says Angela Barratt from Salford and Manchester Street Support "So we took this building to get people with complex needs off the streets.

"We're helping some of them to get on the housing list, with doctors and dentists, and helping them with birth certificates and referring them to 'a bed for the night' from here" she adds "A lot of them, some from Salford, some from Manchester, have made this home now. We're one big family."

Reuben, from Manchester Solidarity Centre, underlines the point, explaining that "We're bringing them in through outreach teams and keeping them warm and safe but we're also including people in the project who are able to provide access to training and work. We're not just putting them up in a house on their own and setting them up to fail through isolation and lack of resources."

And Stuart, who has been homeless in Salford himself but is now helping out, tells of bureaucratic cock-ups in the much lauded 'bed for the night' scheme run by the authorities, which left one bloke homeless even though he was referred to a hostel in Walkden...

"By mistake his name wasn't on the list, so he was homeless again until it was rectified" he says "Then he was put up in a hotel in Manchester for five nights, costing the Council a scandalous amount of money, before he had to go through the whole process again. That's not supporting anyone, that's just going around in circles.

"They need people with lived experience who have been there and done it" he adds "I've been there and it's horrible so I'm trying to help people who are in the situation I have been in."

...People like Steven, who, at one point, was homeless for twenty years... "I've seen so many deaths on the streets, but one night I was brought here and it's amazing what people have done...there's food on the table, shelter over our heads...More places like this, less deaths on the streets..."

The groups are now just waiting to see what the authorities are going to do legally about the occupation...

"Everyone here is entitled to housing benefit and we're willing to pay rent for a building that's been empty for twenty years" Stuart offers. But it will probably fall on deaf NHS ears.

"If it wasn't for these fellas there would be a lot of people out there" says one of the residents, pointing to the howling wind hitting the windows "They do an absolute diamond job..."

This Eccles homeless shelter isn't just a shelter and foodbank. It's also a D.I.Y. statement on the failure of the current homeless system, no matter how much the politicians hype up the 'progress'...

Salfordmike wrote
at 18:49:48 on 28 November 2018
All for buildings being opened for the homeless. BUt needs to be clear who's responsible if something happens to someone in that building. And not true that the NHS is devolved to Andy Burnham. It remains with NHS England and they have control over their buildings and estate. He doesn't have any - bit dangerous to put that line out, i'm afraid. Shouldn't have cut the Council's service to a bare minimum and closed all of the homeless hostels that the Council used to fund - false economy which has made this worse.
 
Bob the regular wrote
at 07:39:44 on 23 November 2018
Debz makes a good point here. I did not know Burham was responsible for NHS things. Let us all hope he shows a bit of common sense. I have a gut feeling he will. It seems that things are getting done at this site. It is always good to see people helping those that are less fortunate than themselves. Poverty and homelessness should be a thing of the past, it has no place in the modern world, but I fear it will last longer than I will.
 
Salford Star wrote
at 08:55:01 on 22 November 2018
See Eileen's comment below...Thanks for that - we've been asked to keep the location quiet for now as there are vulnerable people inside but if you want to help please contact Salford and Manchester Street Support - find them on Facebook or drop us an email and we'll put you in touch info@salfordstar.com
 
Eileen Ferguson wrote
at 08:52:49 on 22 November 2018
I've read this story many times and can't work out which building it is, is it being kept anonymous on purpose? There is a reason I ask as I would like to offer help if it's needed.
 
debz wrote
at 08:52:09 on 22 November 2018
this NHS building is ultimately under the authority of the person the GM NHS is devolved to. a mr a. burnham. who is also head of the police that would be deployed to an eviction. mayor burnham has publicaly called for empty NHS buildings to be used.yet he has failed to do so. the people are carrying out his wishes here. i have been in the building. its in excelent condition. no health and safty issus. the utilities have been safty checked by the resident electrition. residents are all low needs low priority with work histories who have been sent off by all the local authorities theve aproched. lets see how soon the ultimate owner of this building, the mayor takes to turn them out.he has the power to refuse to do that. he can let them stay untill all have jobs and move on.i bet he wont.
 
Jon Grieves wrote
at 19:07:43 on 21 November 2018
Pleased the building is being used for something useful as it's been stood empty for so long wish everybody the very best.
 
Barbara Alexander wrote
at 07:16:21 on 21 November 2018
Do you need stuff.
 
Bob the regular wrote
at 05:15:40 on 21 November 2018
You say this building is owned by the NHS. Let us see how caring our NHS is shall we. I know it is against the law to occupy empty buildings, but if these people are looking after it and it has been empty 20 years where is the problem? The NHS gets very busy in winter, they could be even busier if some of these people are put on the streets and need to be treated for hypothermia. Having people homeless is just a game the politicians play, and its the ones at the bottom who suffer. they are held out as some sort of example to us to show us what happens when you slide down the housing ladder. When you think about it, the only shortages of things we have in this country are housing and decent education, and its obvious why all our rulers like it that way.
 
pete wrote
at 05:15:04 on 21 November 2018
If the council had invested a fraction of the money it has spent on the New Bailley and Greengate office blocks on a new de lux Bloom st Model loging house, then they would have solved this problem, and had a business bring in a couple of million a year housing benefit. The old Bloom street would have done, but they flogged that years ago for peanuts. Still, they know best.
 
Judy Parry wrote
at 05:14:23 on 21 November 2018
Congratulations Salford Star for a very fair and enlightening coverage, what these guys are doing is truly amazing and saving the lives of our homeless and rough sleepers. They have an enormous backing from other outreachs and the local community, which I am part of. The community has rallied round to make sure they have essentials and food. Please continue to support them as much as you can. Our current system of dealing with the homeless is all political clap trap and nothing positive is or has been done to date, after all the recent deaths surely they have to start actually doing something, don't they!?!?!?
 
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