The number of people who are rough sleeping or homeless is an ever-changing and contentious issue. Depending who you ask, what month the count is done (for example more people may be visible in Summer) the number may differ.
Homeless Link says that there were 126 rough sleepers (sleeping outside) in 2018.
Defining homeless and rough sleeping
Defining the terms homeless and rough sleeping should be as simple as searching Google to find the definition, but it’s not. When looking at complex social situations such as someone who is either homeless or rough sleeping, it’s essential to take into account that not all circumstances are the same.
Personal circumstances, which, a lot of the time cannot be truly understood by a professional, can have a massive influence on a persons circumstance.
Firstly, let’s try to define both terms:
Homelessness: “Sleeping rough, not having rights to stay where you live or are living in unsuitable housing, such as a B&B, with friends or a hostel.”
Rough sleeping: “people sleeping or bedded down in the street, doorways, parks or bus shelters.”
Sounds straight forward enough, but what happens when a person is sleeping rough and is also homeless? That’s when things get more complicated. What is important to note that labelling will always have a negative effect on the person in need, and so why don’t we just say they’re someone who doesn’t have a stable home?
Whether someone is homeless, rough sleeping or sleeping at a friends house, it’s safe to say they need support and guidance to help get them accommodation they can rely on.
What does it mean to be homeless in Manchester?
For someone who is homeless in Manchester, there are different options in terms of practical support, local authority support, and temporary accommodation. Compared to other cities, such as Liverpool, where their night shelter is open 365 nights a year, Manchester is clearly lagging behind.
It’s safe to say that things are getting better in Manchester, though, and organisations are popping up to help people who are homeless, and the established charities are continuing to provide ongoing support for the most vulnerable.
Living on the streets around Manchester can be tough, there have been numerous reports in recent years of violence amongst those who are rough sleeping. Spice, a highly addictive drug, is prevalent, mainly due to its low cost and dramatic effects when used by smoking.
With council cuts in recent years, it’s become even harder to police areas in Greater Manchester where those who are homeless visit and sleep. Recent reports also show that Manchester city centre has the highest number of deaths of people who are homeless in 2017.
What’s being done to reduce homelessness across Greater Manchester?
A lot is being done to reduce homelessness in Greater Manchester.
In recent years, the situation in Manchester has gathered a lot of attention from concerned citizens and politicians. We have a long way to go to help the most entrenched rough sleepers and vulnerable people.
Since late 2017, Greater Manchester has benefited from A Bed Every Night (ABEN). This new initiative, which was co-developed with the Greater Manchester Homelessness Action Network (GMHAN), provides accommodation for those who are homeless or rough sleeping. The accommodation is provided by local partner organisations and is meant to be a base where a person can stay safe for the night, especially in bad weather, and also be supported to find move on accommodation.
Recent work being doing by the combined authority has also seen the introduction of the Social Impact Bond (SIB).
The SIB is a Government-backed bond using money provided by the private sector to deliver improvements for some of the most entrenched rough sleepers, including:
- Finding and keeping a home
- Ensuring support is provided to find employment, education or training
- Providing intensive support around people on an individual basis
- Enabling people to access specialist support services around mental health and addiction
Greater Manchester’s SIB is one of seven across the country and the largest outside the capital. It sits alongside Housing First – an £8 million pilot project announced in January that is expected to have secured significant numbers of new accommodation places for those sleeping rough by early 2019 – as part of Greater Manchester’s response to the nationwide homelessness and rough sleeping crisis.
As you can see, a lot is being done to tackle homelessness in Manchester, and while not of these schemes are perfect, it’s a lot more than resources than the city had just three years ago.
How does Pledge help people who are homeless?
Pledge is a registered charity, and we aim to support those who are homeless to live a long and fulfilling life. We do this by providing grants, for items such as clothing, bed sheets when moving into accommodation, and bus passes when someone moves to full-time employment.
Our Chief Executive has been working across a wide range of charities in Manchester for the past four years, all centred around homeless and rough sleeping.
Our plan for the future is to offer talking therapies for the people we support and to offer this free of charge and unconditionally to those who are most in need. We’ve already helped 216 people since we started and we’re planning to help 240 people this year alone!
How you can help people in Manchester
Most people care about their community, primarily if you work where you live and get to see the current state of homelessness across Manchester throughout your day to day travels.
There are food provisions for those in need every day of the week, so nobody on the street is going hungry. You can help someone who is homeless by treating them like a fellow human, stop and talk and ask them how they are, and if they’re accessing services.
The next thing you can do to help someone who is homeless is to support a locally registered charity, such as Pledge. Our year-round work is to provide essentials to those most in need, and we can’t do it without your help. Making your own impact is easy, and you can choose three different ways to help:
Take part in a sponsored run or trek
Whether you like running, cycling, obstacle courses or swimming, getting fit for charity has never felt so good, and you can do it and raise money for charity.
Don’t have time on your side? Making a one-off or monthly donation can provide help to those in need, your donation will help fund & support our year-round work with those living in poverty.
Buy your stuff on Amazon as usual and pay the same price you usually would. The only difference is Amazon donates to Pledge when you do. It’s as easy as that!
Homelessness is complex and often mis-understood, it’s a minefield for anyone new to the topic. There are lots of great charities that are committed to helping reduce the amount of people who are rough sleeping and homeless, and there are more resources than ever in Greater Manchester.
We can only make a difference if we work together, support each other and where local concerned citizens support a local charity.