There has been much criticism of Manchester City Council and its approach to homelessness over the past few months.
This has especially been the case with its suppfor evicting the homeless from various buildings and shelters from around the city centre. The most notorious example of this was supporting Manchester Metropolitan University’s double eviction of the Ark .
A pivotal action in altering the council’s position came when homelessness activists briefly occupied an empty office block on Charlotte Street in city centre. They aimed to make it a community hub for the homeless from which they could get shelter food and advice . Although swiftly evicted, almost immediately afterwards, Manchester United football legends Gary Neville and Ryan Giggs generously offered shelter in their empty ‘Stock Exchange’ building .
In an about face, the Council then declared it too would make buildings available .
That was two weeks ago.
The site of the Ark on Oxford Road is currently empty and fenced off by MMU. There is no sign of the activity MMU evicted the Ark for.
Its been a week of cold, wet, windy weather. Under the fly-over on Oxford Road on both sides, there are homeless again.
When asked why they were there, why didn’t they go to the ‘Stock Exchange’, they said that they did but it was full.
When they were asked about the Council’s empty buildings for the homeless, they knew nothing about them. At all.
When it explained what was offered in the press the response was [to paraphrase and replace words] – ‘Goodness me, they should hurry up, this is no flowery joke being out here’.
Since then, as reported by the local press, the camp near Piccadilly train station has grown to about 30 people .
Its been a very bad week weather-wise. When are these buildings going to open?
What are the Council waiting for?