Manchester

Manchester City Council opens first empty buildings for homeless

Hulme Library Image copyright Google
Image caption The former Hulme Library is one of the first buildings to be opened up to the city's homeless

Empty council buildings in Manchester are to be used as overnight shelters for the city's rough sleepers, the council said.

The former Hulme Library building and the former Beech Mount Children's Home in Harpurhey are the first to be opened up from next month.

Homeless organisations will be able to refer people to the temporary accommodation.

The council is also assessing other empty buildings across the city.

It is part of an ongoing campaign to improve services for homeless people and increase the amount of bed spaces over the winter, the council said.

It said the move would result in an extra 165 bed spaces.

'A good start'

Last month two former Manchester United players allowed a group of about 30 homeless people to stay in the former Stock Exchange building.

Gary Neville and Ryan Giggs are renovating the building into a luxury hotel.

Three buildings in other areas of Manchester, which had previously operated as shared houses, will also provide temporary accommodation, the council confirmed.

The council's rough sleepers team will provide support and help occupants access medical, mental health and drug and alcohol services

Councillor Paul Andrews, executive member for adult health and well being, said the announcement came after months of planning.

He added: "While providing shelter and a roof over their heads is obviously a good start, what's really important is working with charities, faith groups and our own 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."

Image copyright Stephen Richards/Geograph
Image caption The Grade II-listed former Stock Exchange building on Norfolk Street is sheltering about 30 homeless people over the winter

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