NHS Property Services didn't wait long for the 'season of goodwill' to end, as yesterday it served possession papers on the Saving People Shelter Project in Eccles.
The Shelter has been running in an empty old doctor's surgery since November, taking in homeless people who have fallen through Andy Burnham's 'A bed every night' net, and has kept dozens of them off the freezing streets.
The Shelter has also provided support, while working with official agencies such as the Salford Unemployed and Community Resource Centre, the Broughton Trust and Salford City Council's rough sleepers' team to help improve life chances of its residents...
"We have two people in training and have people going to work" explains Angela Barratt from Salford Street Support, who jointly set up the Shelter "Ages here vary from 18 to 64, with people from all different backgrounds and circumstances that have caused their homelessness.
"We have become a family within a home" she adds "There is nowhere for any of them to go. Salford rough sleepers' team cannot accommodate any of them...we have sent everyone for 'a bed every night' assessment. We have worked bloody hard to keep these people in the building and supported every one of them. This is their home. Please, NHS, let us stay..."
The outside of the Shelter is festooned with signs such as 'A home 4 life, not just for Xmas' and 'We die on the streets'.
Shelter facilitator, Stuart Potts, explains why it is needed, despite the efforts of the Greater Manchester Mayor and Salford City Mayor, Paul Dennett, who holds the GM homelessness portfolio.
Stuart had just been to the Wesley Street in Swinton, the homelessness point of contact for Salford Council, where one of the Shelter's residents had an assessment. The bloke's last address was in Birmingham but he left through marriage breakdown and divorce, had no family ties there and had come to Salford where he has friends and connections.
"They basically told him to go back to Birmingham where he has nothing and no prospective of getting himself back on his feet" says Stuart "The system isn't working."
The NHS possession order court case will be heard at the Manchester Civil Justice Centre on Wednesday morning...
"It will probably mean 15 to twenty more people will be on the streets of Salford very soon" says Stuart "Thank you NHS!"
For a full background see previous Salford Star articles...
Eccles People Shelter Saving Lives – click here
Homeless Deaths in Greater Manchester Are A 'Humanitarian Crisis' – click here
Update: 9th January
Eccles homeless shelter possession case adjourned for eight days - click here