Greater Manchester Fire Stations are to be used to help homeless people, in a pioneering new scheme.
Mayor Andy Burnham campaigned on the promise to end rough sleeping in Greater Manchester by 2020 – and now the first part of that scheme is coming into action.
Fire stations will be used to provide both a place to sleep and food for Greater Manchester’s homeless population, which Burnham has recently warned will “double” if the Government’s Universal Credit rollout is not stopped.
Other parts of the preventative plan include more early warning homelessness preventative work, regulating landlords more efficiently, considering the creation of more one bed accommodation and working harder to remove spice and other psychoactive substances from the streets.
Stephen Woods, the area officer of the Greater Manchester Conservatives told Quays News:
“It wasn’t something that was just his idea. It was a government backed scheme – there is ten such schemes around the UK and Manchester is one such, earmarking 1.8million pounds of government money in collaberation with private companies. I know he has said “let’s not make this political” but we need to be clear where this money has come from.”
Manchester city centre councillor Beth Knowles, who worked closely with Burnham on the scheme, told press conference this:
“The fire service have 24/7 staff and centres in almost every town and city – they’ve offered their space as community rooms and to be used as evening provision, whether that is for food to be given or sleeping service. The voluntary service have committed to be able to help that as well;
Sophie Appleton of the local homeless charity Mustard Tree said:
“We are a supporter of the Greater Manchester Homelessness strategy and approach and we are aware of Central Fire station opening its doors last winter for severe weather emergency provision and David Wilson is a great advocate of Mustard Tree and The Manchester Homelessness Partnership. It is great that the fire service is providing this much needed support across the city and we hope other sectors follow suit in support.”
Burnham’s initiative will roll out across the county in the coming weeks.