Updated: Sunday, 8th December 2019 @ 5:52am

Turn Manchester's empty warehouses into homeless shelters, says charity

Turn Manchester's empty warehouses into homeless shelters, says charity

Manchester's empty warehouses should be converted into homeless shelters by the City Council, according to a charity spokesman.

Bruce Mercer, who has worked with Emmaus for 12 years, attended an anti-austerity protest in the city yesterday where hundreds of people gathered to vent their anger at the government’s homelessness funding cuts.

He told MM about how he had noticed a visible rise in homelessness in Manchester over the past few years and explained what he believed needed to be done.

“I definitely think that the council should be converting empty abandoned buildings into shelters for homeless people,” he said.

“These buildings can stop people from being out in the streets, because once you get on the streets, it’s a very steep hill to climb out of.

“If you’ve got a place and address it makes all the difference in the world.”

Bruce, who lived on the streets prior to working with Emmaus, explained that finding accommodation for the homeless would help them feel like they weren’t worthless members of society.

“If you’re on the streets with no address and no home then you’ve got no real identification,” he said.

“Whereas if you’ve got an address it means you’ve got home and it makes things a whole lot easier for those on the streets.

“The amount of men, women and children that are been put out to streets is absolutely awful and local councils also need to be doing a lot more.

“Most charities for homeless people have to buy the buildings to turn them into shelters."

Bruce believed that it made more sense for the Government to house the homeless in order to save money on medical and criminal costs.

"At Emmaus, we did a study of every person who came off the street in 25 communities around the country,” he said.

"It worked out that the government save hundreds of thousands of pounds each year because they didn’t had to deal with hospitals and police.

“It’s a lot better to just convert empty buildings into shelters for homeless, it will save government money.”

Paul, 30, who lived on the streets of Manchester for four months in 2005, told MM that there were plenty of locations to house the homeless.

He talked about how the number of homeless shelters in Manchester was declining and having a big impact on the homeless.

“I’ve definitely come across lots of empty warehouses and buildings in and around Manchester that could be converted into homeless shelters,” he said.

“I do a lot of street and urban photography, and most of what I see is abandoned warehouses.

“All you have to do is look around you - there is plenty of space for everybody. Nobody should live on the streets.”