Through this life threatening freezing cold weather the Manchester Homelessness Partnership has been working together to get everyone off the streets. However we are still seeing people come in after spending many nights on the streets in these sub zero temperatures.

During our early morning breakfast sessions, we’ve been seeing people who are sleeping on the streets in this bitter cold. We encourage everyone to come in, get warm, and have a hot drink and breakfast before putting them in a cab up to the Booth Centre. The Booth Centre has been acting as the accommodation hub for all the homelessness services when the council activates its Severe Weather Emergency Protocol (SWEP), which means that during this life threatening weather they are getting anyone who is street homeless into temporary accommodation, until they are moved to longer-term accommodation.

This weather has been truly life threatening, in the mornings we are seeing people with many of the symptoms of hypothermia, including confusion and difficulty communicating being some of the most obvious. This morning we came across two people sleeping on the street. The temperature was -8. One came in and after he’d had breakfast and told us his situation, we put him in a cab to the Booth Centre because there was no way he could follow a map, and he was still shaking with cold. The other person was under 25, so we redirected him to Centrepoint, Manchester’s housing pathway for young people, only once he’d had a hot breakfast and a hot chocolate with plenty of sugar.

We’ve also been supporting people who are in emergency accommodation and don’t have access to food and clothing. People who have been placed in emergency accommodation don’t necessarily have access to a kitchen which means we have to think about what we can offer them in a food parcel. We’re giving out a lot of porridge pots and, against our will, instant pasta and noodles, which can be reconstituted with boiling water. As quickly as your donations have come in, we’ve got them to the people who need them most, which means we are just about keeping up with demand for the day and our shelves are empty again.

Due to the pressure on accommodation this close to Christmas, and the numbers of people who are street homeless needing to be accommodated, Manchester City Council has had no choice but to place people out of the area, as far as Bolton, Bury and even Blackburn. We’ve been providing bus tickets and food for people who need to come back into the city centre to access services and their medication. Most people want to come back to see us for help with issues they are facing and we’re encouraging people to have their homelessness duty assessments with the council, bid for social housing and update their Universal Credit Journals. All of these are essential to help people move away from being homeless and to start thinking about a life in a settled home.

It’s been amazing to work with our partners during this period of SWEP; some people have refused accommodation, finding it too overwhelming due to; past abuse, autism other mental health problems, or simply being unable to manage their addictions safely. Last night we seconded Becky from our Beacon team to Coffee4Craig to help with a very busy evening service. Becky and Coffee4Craig had been trying to persuade someone to access emergency accommodation; this person had refused. Then Becky told him she would be at Coffee4Craig in the evening; he came in and asked her to help him get into accommodation. Working with Hendrix at Coffee4Craig, this felt like a huge success to both teams, who had been worried about him sleeping in a tent in such freezing temperatures.

It’s been very busy, but we honestly could not have done this without partners, without our supporters and without the goodwill of the public, who have been redirecting people they find to services. It’s a testament to how Manchester pulls together when faced with grim circumstances.

If you would like to support our work you can donate £ or donate food