Manchester Jesuits leading the way on historic Homeless Charter
Fr Tim Byron SJ of the Manchester Jesuit community attended the launch Manchester Homeless Charter on Monday 9th May 2016. The initiative has been part-funded through donations to the Holy Name Church in Manchester.
The Manchester Homeless Charter is building on the work of local charities to develop a more effective strategy to support local homeless people. It is the fruit of numerous discussions between the homeless and the various organisations that strive to help them. The process of writing up the Charter particularly valued the input from rough sleepers themselves, and their ideas as to how homelessness can best be tackled.
The Charter covers a range of areas including accommodation, health and wellbeing, education, employment, training, community safety and social activites to aid reintegration of homeless people into the community.
Each sector in Manchester has been involved in working together to focus on a solution to homelessness in the city, but the Charter is not the first step to have been taken. A campaign named ‘Big Change’ was launched in late 2015 encouraging people to donate to homeless charities rather than to individuals on the streets.
Manchester City Council also reopened three council-run shared houses, redesigned existing houses and freed up 40 bed spaces to help provide much-needed shelter. In addition, specialist accomodation accepting dogs has been opened up to allow for rough sleepers and their pets to have somewhere to stay. The Council is also working to help homeless people to make moves towards independent living.
The Jesuits at the Holy Name are also supporting the development of an app named ‘Street Support’, based on the pre-existing website service. The app will enable people to find out what practical support for homeless people is available nearby. This service will prove especially useful to members of the Manchester Universities’ Catholic Chaplaincy SVP group, who venture out on homeless runs multiple times a week.
For more information, watch this video about the Manchester Homeless Charter: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ZLH4KrtvvFw
(Image courtesy of Matthew Wilkinson)