Manchester

Homeless plan for Manchester disused buildings

Hulme Library Manchester Image copyright Google
Image caption Hulme library will be used as an overnight shelter for homeless people

A disused library and children's home can be night shelters for the homeless, planners in Manchester have agreed.

The decision came after Ryan Giggs and Gary Neville allowed homeless people to stay in a building they owned in October.

The footballers were praised for their "act of kindness" which a charity said only offered a "short-term solution".

Now the planning committee has agreed to turn two buildings into overnight homeless shelters from Friday.

Camp beds

The former Hulme Library will be turned into overnight accommodation for homeless people until the end of March.

It will provide camp beds for a maximum of 20 people on a referral-only basis from homelessness agencies.

The former Beech Mount children's home in Harpurhey will become a night shelter for 20 others.

Image copyright Manchester City Council
Image caption Beech House Children's Home will become a temporary night shelter

Eight objections were received from residents in Hulme about public safety and "possible impact on house prices."

One objector said they felt "there are enough homes" for the homeless.

They added: "There are already enough issues within the area without adding to them by creating homes for such people, especially with an infant and junior school next door."

'Significant increase'

The library opposite Hulme Park has been vacant for nine months and the ground floor has dormitories, toilets and a staff area.

The council said the Homelessness Strategy 2013-8 identified rough sleeping as a priority and "since this strategy was approved, the numbers of rough sleepers has continued to grow".

A rough sleeper headcount showed 43 people were out in Manchester in November 2014, but the council said it was "likely to underestimate the true numbers".

It identified a "significant increase in the numbers of street groups and businesses supporting people through the provision of on-street donations of tents, sleeping bags, clothing, food".

Image copyright Stephen Richards/Geograph
Image caption The Grade II-listed former Stock Exchange building on Norfolk Street is to be turned into a hotel

The report said "whilst they are responding to the visible need, it makes life on the streets more sustainable".

Councillor Paul Andrews said it was important to work with homelessness services to make sure the right help and support is available to rough sleepers "so we can help them make the first steps towards getting off the streets for good".

In October, the footballers let 30 homeless people stay in the £1.5m Grade II-listed former Stock Exchange building until work starts early next year on a boutique hotel.

They had set up camp in the building and some moved on after a few weeks after praising Gary Neville's "good heart".

Image caption Wes Dove (right) became homeless after his relationship with his girlfriend broke down
Image copyright Manchester Angels/Facebook
Image caption The interior of the former exchange building in Manchester

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