Thursday, 29 October 2015

Hulme Green Party calls on Homeless Film Festival to boycott Manchester Metropolitan University

HFF boycott of MMU
Hulme Green Party are calling on the upcoming Homeless Film Festival (HFF) [1] to boycott film screenings and other events hosted by Manchester Metropolitan University (MMU).

The aggressive legal action that MMU have pursued in conjunction with Manchester City Council and the repeated evictions of The Ark homeless shelter have received much public attention in the last few weeks. [2]

The harassing actions of these large institutions against this vulnerable group were called out by homelessness campaigns, students and Manchester Green Party. [3]

Deyika Nzeribe, Hulme resident and Green Party campaigner said: "While we recognize the good work that the HFF are doing and have done, it is just wrong for them to ally themselves with MMU, who have aggressively pursued and evicted the Ark homeless camp twice in the last few months. It was a well organised shelter, which was doing a lot to raise awareness of homelessness and to provide support for vulnerable people.

"On the back of this ‘partnership’, MMU will be able to use HFF as an example of the good work it's doing for the homeless, to cover up what it's actually doing on the ground. HFF should do the right thing and boycott the MMU venues."


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Tuesday, 13 October 2015

Council Leader should learn some Mancunian generosity

Mancunian Generosity
The comments on the Leader’s Blog [1] by Richard Leese on begging and homelessness are reprehensible. It is classic demonization of some of Manchesters’ most vulnerable.

The piece looks to draw distinctions between beggars and the homeless while describing them in almost the same terms. For beggars "the most likely beneficiaries are the nearest off-licence, drug dealer" but the homeless "are people with chaotic, dysfunctional lifestyles often with drink, drug, and mental health problems".

The Leader talks about 80% of beggars not being homeless. What does that mean? There is a noticeable increase in begging AND the homeless on the streets over the few years. We know that the "Lack of affordable housing, welfare cuts, and cuts to support services" has led to an increase in homelessness, why wouldn't it lead to an increase in begging? Foodbanks [2] and soup kitchens can't catch everyone.

The claim that beggars are commuting from London for the notable Mancunian generosity is ridiculous. When is the evidence for this? And are beggars also commuting from Liverpool, Birmingham and other large cities?

As for the generosity of Mancunians, this does not extend to the Council. This spring it cut funding to homelessness support.  [3]

Since then, however, the Council has spent over £100,000 prosecuting the homeless in the city centre while at the same time promoting the huge amount of luxury flats planned for the city centre partly funded by £300 million of government funds. [4]

What use are the Council Leader's comments except to turn the public against the visible homeless on the streets. It casts doubt on any initiative announced by the Richard Leese will be anything more than a token  enterprise, that it won’t approach the scale of action needed to properly address the  homelessness crisis. Next thing you know, he’ll be asking people not to give to the homeless.

Manchester’s generosity is better than the comments of the Council Leader. He should do a better job of representing it. He should learn from it.

In the meantime its to be expected that the homeless themselves will do the best they can to look after themselves on the streets of Manchester.

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