Despite attempts by Greater Manchester authorities to tackle the problem, the number of people sleeping rough on the streets of Manchester continues to grow in 2020.
The charity Shelter found in December last year that there were 280,000 homeless people in the UK, with Manchester having the highest number of rough sleepers outside of London. The Mayor for Greater Manchester, Andy Burnham, set up A Bed Every Night scheme in 2018, a programme which seeks to provide a bed for all rough sleepers in the region. It currently assists 500 people a month but the problem is far from over.
Between March and December last year, the number of families and people who require temporary accommodation rose from 1,491 to 1,628 and has subsequently grown by a further 100 since the new year.
These figures come as no surprise to Risha and Hendrix Lancaster, a couple who run the homeless charity Coffee 4 Craig. The service is open seven days a week and provides food, drink, showers, and advice to those who need it.
Hendrix praised the work being done by schemes like A Bed Every Night but claimed that there was still far more to be done for the homeless and those in poverty in the region.
Hendrix said: “People are getting more and more frustrated with the system, they are getting angrier. They get wound up and then they come to us and that’s what we do. They’re the people that we work with, the ones that are really difficult to reach.”
Coffee 4 Craig serves around 80 people per night and helps hundreds more find accommodation through the A Bed Every Night scheme.
Despite the inflating figures indicating a worsening of an already serious problem, Hendrix commented on the changing attitudes toward the homeless in Manchester: “We’re hearing more and more that public places are getting more homeless friendly,” said Hendrix.
“Places like the airport and the train stations are starting to let people sleep there as long as they are polite and don’t cause any trouble.
“But for us, we’re always going to be the last place open, everyone who’s been out using substances all day, the really hard to reach.”
Coffee 4 Craig is currently raising funds to support a move to their own premises on Great Dulcie Street in North Manchester. To find out more about donating or volunteering visit their website.