"The aim of all five proceedings has been either eviction or imprisonment and fining of people who've already been stripped of everything-- including a right to live..."
Despite calls from staff, students and the public, Manchester Metropolitan University (MMU) continues to hound the homeless off its land. Yesterday, the University went to court to gain a further possession order, this time to evict what is left of The Ark 2 on Oxford Road, where homeless people moved after the forced eviction from the previous site a few yards away under the Mancunian Way (see previous Salford Star article – click here).
This afternoon, End Homelessness Manchester issued a statement condemning MMU and other `corporate forces' which have been responsible for evicting the various homeless camps that have sprung up in Manchester since the summer...
"Yesterday afternoon an Order for possession by MMU was handed to Persons Unknown at what survives of The Ark Manchester - the self-built emergency homeless shelter on Oxford Road which was violently evicted and destroyed on 18th September by surprise attack from High Court Bailiffs, with Greater Manchester Police and MMU Security on standby" it states "A date hasn't been set for the upcoming eviction.
"This is the outcome of the fifth court proceeding launched against the homeless on Oxford Road under the Mancunian Way in just over a month by the conjoined corporate forces of Manchester City Council, Manchester Metropolitan University and Bruntwood property company who share the same legal team" it adds "The aim of all five proceedings has been either eviction or imprisonment and fining of people who've already been stripped of everything-- including a right to live. This right was taken away by the Injunction Order granted to Manchester City Council on 3rd August.
"As Manchester's homeless crisis escalates, more and more people are being unjustly forced out of accommodation and onto the streets" the statement explains "The Ark was founded and built by Ryan Mcphee (24, Mancunian, electrician, made homeless this year by false assessment) as a matter of survival. Its purpose was to provide a place safe from the terror and abuse facing those living unprotected and in isolation on the streets. With visionary determination and immense public support, it became a place not of mere survival but of mutual hope and inspiration by a growing community. Its changing residents are those in need, including those turned away by the Council.
"While Manchester City Council fails to address the city's emergency, The Ark Manchester has existed as a crisis centre with not only shelter, but free food, clothing, bedding, warmth and a community of support open to all 24 hours a day" it adds "In a short space of time The Ark has also established a broad network of public support-- when need arises, it is lovingly answered. Those calling for its destruction will have blood on their hands."
At the moment, the main `caller' for The Ark's destruction is Manchester Metropolitan University which, much to its embarrassment, is hosting events for the Homeless Film Festival in November... "the first festival of its kind, dedicated to confronting and presenting homeless issues".
Along with events at Home, the Whitworth Gallery and at other venues around the country, MMU will feature a talk with the Director of Homeless Film Festival, Dean Brocklehurst, who says "With this year's Festival we hope to raise awareness of homelessness around the world, highlighting not only the people who are homeless but the many ways in which people become homeless..."
Perhaps he'll be able to look out of the window during his talk and see `not only the people who are homeless but the many ways in which people become homeless' via MMU evicting them from a safe space.
The University will also be showing the Francois Truffaut film 400 Blows, about a young Parisian boy who has `conflicts with unsympathetic authority figures'...
"We're going to be evicted again" the End Homelessness statement concludes "So everyone can go back to doorways and suffering alone..."
• After the staff at MMU slated their own bosses in an open statement following the first eviction, stating that their action "smacks of social cleansing" (see here), Student Action in Solidarity with the Homeless, or SASH, has now called a Protest Against Eviction of The Ark 2 next Monday, 19th October, 5pm-7pm outside All Saints Park, in what will be even more embarrassing for MMU, if that is possible.
For further details see the SASH (Student Action in Solidarity with the Homeless) Facebook page – click here.
For further details on the MMU eviction see The Ark Manchester Facebook page – click here and End Homelessness Manchester Facebook page – click here
For further details of the Homeless Film Festival - click here