Everyone is entitled to a secure home and a good quality of life.
One group of people that have experienced particular problems over the last year are people from EU countries who have been hit hard by both Brexit and COVID - especially those in hospitality jobs.
In response, we have expanded our Greater Manchester Homeless Prevention Service for EU citizens and developed a wider partnership to ensure that no one is left destitute on the streets.
Through the partnership, we have created a pathway from destitution and rough sleeping to settled homes and employment, with the legal right to stay in the UK.
People who are homeless from European Union countries (many of whom lost jobs during COVID) are directed to the Booth Centre where they are helped to get into emergency accommodation provided by Supporting People In Need (as well as other partners, including Riverside and Stepping Stone) and they are then seen by the Greater Manchester Immigration Aid Unit, who run surgeries at the Booth Centre and Spin and assist with applications for Settled Status.
We run classes to help people improve their English and have a partnership with Business in the Community to help people get back into work.
The project is supported by Manchester City Council, the GM Combined Authority, and Greater Manchester Mayor’s Charity, who have all shown great flexibility in their approach.
The pathway was designed through co-production with the people themselves, who have experienced the problems of homelessness helping to make sure we designed a system that really works and many have also volunteered at the Booth Centre to help welcome and support new people coming in.
The outcomes have been really significant. In the last 12 months alone, we have helped 279 people who are originally from European countries, some we have been able to prevent from becoming homeless and some we have supported to return to their countries of origin. Of those that were homeless - 82 have got into supported accommodation, 44 have secured employment, and 54 have gained their Settled or Pre-settled status (many more applications are in progress) to enable them to legally stay in the UK. They now have the right to stay in Manchester, to work, and to be a part of our Manchester community, which they have chosen as home.