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.