The situation in Greater Manchester is that there has been a steady stream of people, made homeless all across the region, migrating towards Manchester and Salford City Centres in search of better support, opportunities and, in some cases, the perception of a steadier and wealthier footfall from whom to receive money and food.Whilst it is the case that there are many more day centres specialising in supporting homeless people in Manchester and Salford city centres, beyond this there is a real lack of evening provision and safe, suitable temporary and move-on accommodation. Local councils only have a legal responsibility to rehouse those who are considered “priority homeless” have originated from within their boundaries, and there has been a steady decline in beds provided by the third sector and faith sector.
Subsequently, many homeless people who end up in the city centre will find themselves trapped in a vortex of negative relationships, drug and alcohol use and the sex trade. Whilst many will access the services of Day Centres like the Booth Centre, it is during the evening and n
ight hours that much of the damage is done to people’s health and well-being.
Many young homeless men and women, who are more likely to already have a history of abuse and mental health problems, find themselves pulled into the nightmare of selling sex to survive, forming negative and exploitative relationships with older men and women, becoming at risk of violence, abuse and rape even in many of the city’s homeless hostels (where teenagers are often placed with adults). These same young people are subsequently introduced to a lifestyle of dependency on drugs and alcohol, which makes supporting them into accommodation that much more difficult.
Local authorities have a duty to provide advice and assistance to everyone but to have a duty to house someone permanently, the individual has to be assessed as: homeless, eligible, in priority need (very vulnerable), not having made themselves previously intentionally homeless and to have a local connection or be fleeing domestic violence.