Faith Homelessness SummitTuesday 27th March 2018
Today Caritas will be attending the Greater Manchester Faith Sector Homelessness Summit that is taking place at Methodist Central Hall. The focus of the event will be how faith sector can better link together in response to the growing need. It is more important than ever that those of all faiths and none join together to help fight this issue.
This meeting follows on from the day Mayor Andy Burnham spent visiting organisations that are providing services to people experiencing homelessness across Manchester. As part of this day Andy was welcomed to Cornerstone Day Centre by Sister Lucy Dunn. This visit was an example of the commitment to tackling the issue of homelessness Andy Burnham has made since he was elected in May 2018.
The Mayor has pledged to end rough sleeping by 2020 and by visiting the frontline services he is able to speak and listen to service users directly. Service users like Ivan who is a homeless sofa surfer in his 50’s who said: “I have never seen such sad times as we are seeing now, it almost takes my imagination to the 80s…because people are dropping like flies”.
Andy Burnham responded to Ivan by commenting on the extent of the problem: “It is linked to cuts to a certain extent, but it also something deeper which is the insecurity of modern life. You’ve got cuts, but they have come at a time when work has become insecure (with zero hours contract) which is also combined with insecure housing. That is the change since the 80s…now people are poor but also without the stability of housing and employment”
Three years ago, Cornerstone was not providing any accommodation support. Due to the significant rise in homelessness, Cornerstone can now accommodate up to 70 people per night, through the Safe Haven Pods (26 beds), 5 shared houses, and 16 bed Hostel. Andy was given a tour of the Centre and its services, including the ‘Safe Haven’ night shelter or ‘Pods’ and the Morning Star Hostel.
In the last year alone (since May 2017 to present) the charity has helped to provide accommodation to 178 people, with 70 of those being supporting into more permanent accommodation. Caritas successfully received funding in January 18 for three years from Big Lottery Reaching Communities fund to establish the ‘Door Steps – From the Street to Suite’ accommodation project, to underpin this growing work in accommodation. Andy also encouraged Cornerstone to apply for funding from the Mayoral Housing Fund: “We wanted to invest more in the people and established organisations that are doing such great work”.
Caritas will evidence this growing work at the Greater Manchester Faith Sector Homelessness Summit.