Updated: Friday, 19th July 2019 @ 2:43pm

Just 27 rough sleepers in Manchester city centre? Council figures are 'ludicrous', claims homeless charity

Just 27 rough sleepers in Manchester city centre? Council figures are 'ludicrous', claims homeless charity

By John McDougall

There are more rough sleepers in Manchester than council figures show, claims a Christian homeless charity

Manchester City Council figures claim there are just 27 rough sleepers in the city centre.  

Statistics previously showed that just SEVEN people slept rough in the city centre in 2010, rising to 15 the following year and almost doubling again to hit 27.   

The council conducts a headcount in the city centre once annually in November and Mr Green feels the figures do not paint an accurate picture.

Peter Green, who founded and runs Barnabus Manchester, told MM: “We all know the figures are just ludicrous and the council are aware of it.

“They openly admit this is something they have to produce and they can only do what they do, but we all know they are incorrect.  

“There are more people sleeping in the squats and on the streets themselves so it does distort the figure.

“They are given an area to go around and they can only stick to it. They can’t go into places such as squats or derelict buildings, so they don’t get a true figure.”

However Mr Green and Barnabus Manchester are elated that Greater Manchester’s only emergency shelter will stayopen temporarily.

Narrowgate shelter in Pendleton, Salford, closed in April following the removal of its housing benefit, putting the future of its 28 inhabitants in serious doubt. 

But following a donation from an anonymous benefactor, the shelter – which has 28 beds – will partially reopen for three evenings a week over the next three months. 

“We’re absolutely elated that it can reopen, although it is only on a smaller scale of three evenings a week for three months,” he said.

“We have already referred quite a lot there over the past couple of days. It is just good news and it is great to receive some good news for once.”

The news has also been greeted with joy by Salford City Mayor Ian Stewart, but appealed to the government for stopping these situations from happening in the first place.

“This is brilliant news and a very generous gesture which will bring real relief to homeless people sleeping rough,” he said.

“However we need the government to step in and sort out the implications of this legal ruling so there is a proper long-term solution and other shelters don’t fall foul of this.”

Mr Green founded Barnabus Manchester more than 20 years ago, helping 600 homeless and vulnerable people every week.

Paul Andrews, executive member for Adults’ Health and Wellbeing and Labour councillor for Baguley, defended the council’s statistics and insisted the council are striving to reduce them.

“This is a snapshot of the number of people sleeping rough on any given night,” he said. “But given that we are living in very challenging times this is perhaps not surprising.

“We are not complacent and the effect of the financial climate on the numbers of people rough sleeping is monitored closely.

“We will continue to strive to ensure that no-one in Manchester needs to sleep rough. Those people who are sleeping rough are given the appropriate support to come off the streets.”

For more on this story and many others, follow Mancunian Matters on Twitter and Facebook.