Manchester is set to come together with people from around the UK on Saturday 27 October. Because it’s time to say ‘enough is enough’ to the homelessness crisis engulfing the city.
A homelessness crisis
A coalition of grassroots groups has organised a ‘No More Deaths On Our Streets’ rally on 27 October. It begins at 1pm in Manchester’s Piccadilly Gardens;
— Streets Kitchen (@streetskitchen) October 23, 2018
Not only is it a rally, but people can bring supplies they want given out to homeless people.
It comes after two men died on the streets just last weekend. At least one homeless person dies every month in Manchester, according to the Manchester Evening News. And this could be an underestimate, as is the case with most figures.
Authorities don’t routinely record the deaths of homeless people, although this is changing. But the change in authorities’ attitude to homelessness isn’t happening quickly enough. So groups in Manchester are taking action.
Where’s the outrage?
Campaigner Anthony Brennan told The Canary:
The reason we organised this demo is because in Manchester we have four less homeless people than we did two weeks ago. They are now lost souls of the street. RIP.
So, Manchester has a habit of rising as a city in the worst situations. And on Saturday we will rise again as a community.
This is our city, not the council’s or the politicians’. They have proved that, over the past few weeks with their silence. It’s been deafening.
Even though the council won’t remember the ‘fallen four’ in Manchester, people from all round the country are coming on Saturday to remember them.
Enough is enough.
No more deaths on our streets.
Manchester Mayor Andy Burnham has pledged to “end the need for rough sleeping in Manchester by 2020”. He has a “radical” plan which includes providing housing for 450 people. Most recently, he launched a campaign to get restaurants to add £1 to every bill in November and December. The money will go to Burnham’s homelessness fund. He also says 300 beds for rough sleepers will be available from around the end of October.
‘Official’ rough sleepers increased in Manchester by 41% in 2017, to 278 people. But some campaigners believe the real figure is double this. That figure rises to over 3,000 homeless people when considering those in temporary accommodation, B&Bs or sofa surfing.
Campaign groups have questioned Burnham on some of his homelessness policies:
Please confirm unless people have a last known address in greater Manchester they will be left out in the cold !!! Very humane ?@MayorofGM @HousingFirstUK @BethMKnowles @SpinMcr @terrychristian @MENnewsdesk @bodanbabe @JenWilliamsMEN @streetskitchen @BarnabusMcr https://t.co/QfGod31beb
— Street Treats (@treats_street) October 22, 2018
@AndyBurnhamGM does ‘A Bed Every Night’ really mean homeless people get a roll mat and a sleeping bag to sleep on a floor like previous years? @HomelessAid_UK @GoogleExpertUK @SpinMcr @ManCityCouncil @gmhousingaction @MissAmyVarle @treats_street @Coffee4Craig @02pash
— wesley dove (@WezDove) October 23, 2018
The crisis is now so deep that campaigners think action is needed now – not in 2020.
Enough is enough
Jon Glackin from grassroots solidarity group Streets Kitchen told The Canary:
We want to make this as big and as loud as possible; remembering those who are not with us due to sheer indifference and the very curable condition of homelessness.
We also encourage people to bring along any essential supplies that we can distribute directly to the streets. This will be done by the many grassroots homeless outreach groups who will be in attendance.
Enough is enough.
Promises don’t butter bread. We want action.
The response from the authorities in Manchester has left people with no choice. While “radical” plans are fine, people are literally dying. Politicians can ‘talk the talk’ all they want. But it’s campaigners who are ‘walking the walk’ when it comes to the homelessness emergency in Manchester.
– Find out more about Saturday’s rally.
– Support Streets Kitchen, showing solidarity not charity to homeless people.
Featured image via The Canary
Since you're here ...
We know you don't need a lecture. You wouldn't be here if you didn't care.
Now, more than ever, we need your help to challenge the rightwing press and hold power to account. Please help us survive and thrive.