When the weather hits zero or below for a night, Manchester activates emergency accommodation for rough sleepers to ensure that people have a safe place for the night. Based on our work last winter, this winter the Manchester Homeless Partnership is operating a long term Winter accommodation project in addition to all the all year accommodation, so that people can be referred in throughout the winter as well as on those bitterly cold nights.

The freezing weather meant we needed to swing into action this week and get people accommodated. Coffee4Craig and the Booth Centre referred 56 people in total into accommodation and the partners did a brilliant job of working together to start the ongoing support people need to find long term, sustainable accommodation.

Barnabus driver Alan was delivering food and toiletries to people who had been placed in accommodation in Manchester, with thanks to Coffee4Craig, Lifeshare and the Booth Centre for donating toiletries for those people. The office was full of food bags rather than people so that people had something to eat, which is essential when you are destitute.

Support workers from On The Out and Lifeshare went out to the hotels to help people navigate the systems to get longer term accommodation and to make referrals to Change Grow Live for drug and alcohol support, and Greater Manchester Mental Health for mental health support. On The Out have been able to support people who have been released from prison or are on probation to continue their rehabilitation and give them the peer support they need.

It’s been inspiring to work alongside MASH, Centrepoint and the Boaz Trust as well as they support women, young people and asylum seekers and non EU Migrants. Getting that specialist support to people early on in the process has been critical to being able to identify the best way to help people move into longer term accommodation with the support they need in place.

In addition the support we have had from Urban Village Medical Practice with delivering Covid vaccinations and boosters to people in accommodation has been fantastic; their homeless outreach nurses have been out in their van all over the winter to keep people safe.

We’re building on the great work the partnership did last year and Barnabus’ contribution to  this has been to employ a Cold Weather Support Co-ordinator to ensure the whole project is properly supported. Our ability to do the practical tasks like food bags, toiletries, getting things delivered is central to the support offer and it’s thanks to our brilliant supporters that we are even able to do this. Please consider setting up a regular donation to help support our work throughout the winter and the coming year to help people move off the streets for good.