Eviction of homeless from Manchester shelter The Ark ‘disturbing’, says UK charity

Manchester City Council’s handling of The Ark shelter eviction has ‘disturbed’ a leading homeless charity, after reports that rough sleepers were dragged out of their tents and possessions were thrown away.

The Ark, which resided underneath Mancunian Way on Oxford Road, was raided by private security and High Court bailiffs at 7am yesterday.

It was built by the homeless and functioned as a ‘self-serving community’ for the poor as an alternative to isolation on ‘dangerous streets’.

Possessions were reported to have been thrown into skips and eye witnesses claimed that members of the shelter were ‘dragged out while they were half-asleep’.

Matt Downie, director of policy and external affairs for Crisis – the national charity for single homeless people – claims that homeless people deserve to be treated with ‘compassion and respect’.

He told MM: “Rough sleeping in England has risen by 55% since 2010, and by 14% in the past year, with cuts to benefits and homelessness services taking a heavy toll. 

“People often become homeless as result of a relationship breakdown, a bereavement or domestic abuse.

“While the authorities have a duty to maintain public order, people must be treated with compassion and respect.

“We are particularly disturbed by reports of people’s possessions being thrown away. If you are living on the streets, a small collection of belongings may be all you have left. 

“Manchester City Council must now make good on its commitment to support people to escape the streets and make sure that anyone affected by this action is treated with dignity and respect.” 

The camp, set up in August, was involved in a legal battle with Manchester City Council and Manchester Metropolitan University after a possession order was reportedly granted by the High Court.

Image courtesy of Matthew Wilkinson, with thanks.

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