Shops, 24 hour fast food restaurants, libraries can all provide shelter from extreme weather for people who rough sleep. It's not a dignified thing to be forced into but it can be life-saving. This isn't an option this winter which is why the response from Manchester City Council and partners when the temperature falls to 0 has never been more critical. Day centres and other support services for people affected by homelessness have also been closed or on restricted opening meaning getting people into accommodation is so important.
At the Booth Centre we operate the daytime cold weather hub for Manchester. We have all weather gazebos and outside heaters as well as being able to safely seat 12 people downstairs in our cafe space and 10 people upstairs in our Skills and Employment space
Christmas Eve was the first activation of a cold weather response this winter, this involves Manchester City Council and charity partners working together to get as many people sleeping rough inside as possible. A total of 88 people were accommodated from the Booth Centre hub over the Christmas period. We provided people with phones and sent them information via a free text messaging service. And our kitchen has been producing over 50 food bags a day for people in hotels which don't provide meals.
With severe weather continuing into January we have been able to get more people into emergency accommodation. Consequently, the number of people sleeping rough in Manchester have fallen dramatically and we're now all working together to help keep these people inside, and get them the support and long-term homes that they need.
The Booth Centre provides an essential service for people who are homeless. By remaining open we not only protect our community but help to reduce the chance of transmission in the city. With this in mind we have once again adapted our service to give us the best chance of being able to safely remain open to support people, whilst the threat from the new variant of Covid is so severe.
From Monday 11th January we divided our service into two bubbles. Staff, volunteers and people accessing the Centre are assigned to one bubble and will now stay in that bubble until we feel it is safe to relax these measures. We have split the building to accommodate the two bubbles. To access the service people should continue to phone 0161 835 2499 or to come to reception.
Bubble 1: Upstairs
Bubble 2: Downstairs
This will include:
We are continuing to support people who do not attend the Centre by:
How you can help:
We write on behalf of Manchester Homelessness Partnership organisations to ask you to reconsider your decision not to fund essential accommodation for people who are experiencing homelessness or sleeping on the streets during this third national lockdown. We appreciate the funding given to date has been critical to addressing the risks to this population of the pandemic but it is simply not enough now that a third lockdown is in place for at least the next 8 weeks.
Yesterday the House of Commons voted to pass this lockdown into law, making it unlawful for people to leave their homes without good reason. The law is worded so that it excludes people who are experiencing homelessness, in effect making it lawful for them to remain outside during one of the most acute stages of this pandemic.
With over 1,000 deaths yesterday and the number of cases increasing daily, we ask for this emergency funding so that we can continue to keep people safe during this unpredictable time.
Because these are people we are supporting; they deserve the same chance as everyone else to survive this virus. The chances are stacked against them with no safe place of their own and the difficulty of engaging with health services with no phone or internet.
We’re asking for additional funding to keep people in accommodation throughout this lockdown so that we as a partnership can work with them as we did during ‘Everyone In’, where we accommodated over 450 people and helped 270 to move off the streets to a new home.
Please don’t let the people we support become the daily statistics we see in the media. Please reverse your decision on the basis of humanitarian aid.
Amanda Croome – The Booth Centre
Yvonne Hope – Barnabus
Jo Walby – The Mustard Tree
Ros Holland – The Boaz Trust
Helen Brown – On The Out
Stephanie Moore & Rebecca Elliot – Reach Out to the Community
Joe Lomas – Centrepoint
Hendrix & Risha Lancaster – Coffee4Craig
Liz Norris - Shelter
Judith Vickers – Lifeshare
Annie Emery – MASH
Fergal McCullough – The Men’s Room