Star date: 25th January 2016


"We're all just litter to the police and Government really..." David, homeless.

The murder of 23 year old Daniel Smith, who was living rough in Salford, highlights the plight of around forty homeless people living under arches or in the `cave', or squatting in unsafe buildings in the city.

This is happening right in the middle of Chapel Street and New Bailey where over £650million is being pumped into offices, a car park and unaffordable housing developments, with public money support.

"It's shocking really" says David, who is living in the doorway of Tesco Express, in the shadow of the massive One New Bailey office block, and sometimes sleeps in the arches where Daniel was murdered.

Full details here...

Salford Homeless Tragedy Salford Homeless Tragedy Salford Homeless Tragedy
Salford Homeless Tragedy David Outside Tesco Express Salford One New Bailey
David Outside Tesco Express Homeless In Salford
click image to enlarge

"They need emergency shelter right now in Salford before anyone else dies..." Angela `Penny' Barratt, Street Support

Last Friday, they didn't want it announced particularly, but the Red Cross was in Salford, parked up outside an unsafe building where fifteen homeless people were squatting.

The Red Cross was handing out hot drinks and food from its emergency vehicle,  right in the shadow of some of the most prime real estate in Salford, being hyped by the English Cities fund (ECf) as `New Bailey'... "A vibrant riverside setting with a radical skyline of inspired architecture at the heart of a thriving hub where business and leisure collide..."

A hundred yards up the road, at the side of a new NCP multi-storey car park that cost £12million to build, is the entrance to the `arches'; now roped off with police tape, beyond which is a sign reading `R.I.P. Daniel – Gone But Not Forgotten'...

On the wall where homeless people climb to get in to sleep under the old arches there's also a shrine to 23 year old Daniel Smith, found murdered and burned last week. There's candles and flowers and a card reading `You're now wrapped in the wings of an angel...no more pain...your spirit shall live on...'

Amongst the homeless community there are rumours of another death since Daniel's; of someone who froze to death in the sub zero temperatures last week. They are convinced it is being hushed up to save Salford, the police and the authorities any more embarrassment. Because here, right here, in the shadow of a £650million regeneration scheme aimed purely at the rich, growing numbers of people are sleeping rough – and now paying the price with their lives.

"I think we've gone back to the dark ages" says Angela `Penny' Barratt who has been working with homeless people for over four years, via her Street Support Salford and Manchester group.

"It's a basic human right to have shelter but no human rights apply in Salford" she says "Where's the shelter for these people who are basically dying on the streets? They need emergency shelter right now in Salford before anyone else dies."

Penny, as she's known, takes us to meet David, who, during the day, is living in the doorway of Tesco Express on New Bailey Street. He's been here so long that the postman jokes he should have it as his official address...

"Last night I slept in the doorway of Cafe Nero because of the rain and the other night here because it's got a CCTV camera...you know, because of what happened" he says "I was shocked, really shocked. I just sleep with one eye open every night now. Why they've done it I don't know, and it's not the first time either."

On the night Daniel got murdered, David was due to sleep, as usual, under the arches but his aunt let him spend the night at hers... "I came back the next day and found out what had happened" he recalls "I could have stopped it because you're better off in numbers..."

David has been homeless off and on since 2008, since his grandma died in his arms in Torquay. He came to Greater Manchester to be with family but ended up in jail `after a big argument', and now resides on the Salford and Manchester streets... "I would rather be in jail, it's warm and you've got a bed" he says.

With no identification and no place to live, he can't claim benefits, while council housing staff have told him there's nothing they can do... "It's stupid really" he says "And the charities are a joke to be honest,  because they are getting all the money and not doing anything with it for us."
David is waiting on a place at Abbot Lodge, waiting for the Booth Centre to get back in touch and hasn't been able to bid for a City West property since he lost his bidding number and password a few years ago. A member of staff who was helping him left the company and he's been left in the lurch ever since.

Instead, David is saving the coins that people put in his polystyrene cup for a deposit on a private rental flat... "I'm going to get my own place" he says "Even a bedsit will do...I've got to get my deposit and then hopefully get off the streets as soon as possible...but you need references and god knows what..."

In the meantime his bedroom is the doorway of Tesco Express, Cafe Nero when it rains, or under the now-dreaded arches. And as David sits with his cup, hoping to raise enough for a flat deposit, right opposite, staring at him all day is this giant Mammon's palace called One New Bailey.

It's a sterile 125,000 square feet of `state of the art office development' funded by Legal & General as part of the English Cities fund redevelopment of Central Salford.

"I'm a joiner by trade, and have been asking them for work but they said they've got none" says David "I think it's because I'm sat here like this. We're all just litter to them, to the police and the government..."

Elsewhere in and around New Bailey and Chapel Street, where Salford City Council has been busy spending £18.4million buying up land for redevelopment, there's a Premier Inn Hotel, a £16million `bespoke' Private Rental Scheme (PRS) block in development, the infamous Vimto building helped along with £10.6million public money loans - including £3.8million from Salford City Council - and the Ainscow boutique hotel, supported with over £184,000 from the Council to tart up the pavements outside (see here).

To make the Salford border with Manchester a place of comfort for the rich, there's no end of public money subsidies. But for those who eek out an existence in the shadows, there's nothing. To say they've been let down would be the biggest understatement of the year.

Officially, Salford has only 14 rough sleepers (see here). But David knows of at least forty people sleeping either under the arches, on the streets, in squatted buildings or in what's known as `the cave', under an underground car park.

Yet, so far, there has not been one affordable property in any of these £multi-million housing developments, or any money towards social housing in planning fees from the luxury office/hotel/car park developments...

When developers build in the area they are supposed to pay into an ECf/Salford Council pot called the Development Trust Account but the details of this have been kept secret* and not a penny from this account has been made public going towards the most vulnerable people in the community.

"They should be building flats or something for people who are homeless" says David "I think it's shocking really because with all the money they could be building shelters for us, and they could get the residents to run it, as well as give them jobs."

When law firm, Freshfields Bruckhaus Deringer, agreed to let space in One New Bailey, Salford City Mayor, Ian Stewart, couldn't contain himself... "It's exciting news" he said in a press release. Not a word about the lack of anything for the community within the £650million New Bailey and Chapel Street developments.

Meanwhile, funding for single homeless people in Salford just keeps getting cut and cut. One of the last acts by Councillor Peter Connor, Assistant Mayor for Adult Services, before he got culled himself, was to `Accept the savings proposed for single homeless and young people's services...'

"David should be in supported accommodation so he can be helped to get back on his feet" says Angela "But there's cuts and too much red tape in the way. If someone gave me a building I would take in at least fifty homeless people. Out here, a lot of them get attacked and robbed.

"They shouldn't be living on the streets" she repeats "It's like the dark ages..."

• David is desperate for new clothes (medium), new shoes (size 7), underwear, shower gels and anything waterproof. Anyone who wishes to donate can either find him in the doorway of Tesco Express or contact the Salford Star (info@salfordstar.com).

• For full details of the ECf and its secret Development Trust Account see the printed issue of Salford Star – click here.

Reg Howard wrote
at 3:20:04 PM on Thursday, January 28, 2016
I to am an old Salfordian, but am neither a political wannabe or a has been, but,have actively worked with the elderly and disabled in Salford for many years, yes I have supported politicians who, I believed, were working for the people of Salford , and castigated those who worked only for themselves. but my opinions were always my own and not those of political leaders, my comments about the floods were quite legitimate, however, opinions are like arses, everybody has one and they are all different
Bernard Brough wrote
at 8:57:50 AM on Thursday, January 28, 2016
Old Salfordian, you are spot on.
joe oneill wrote
at 3:54:39 AM on Thursday, January 28, 2016
Do you ever worry when people lack the balls to put their name to comments? funny I spoke to the star over the issue of rough sleepers and some the charities where missing weeks ago, sad really you can't have a view that offers concern on how we fail our own and rush to help others, I work with the elderly daily and have done so for the past 14 years I help where ever I can and put pressure on others to help also. Perhaps the anonymous writers on the site should address their comments with a name so others who read can take them more seriously.
David cameron wrote
at 3:54:33 AM on Thursday, January 28, 2016
@Old salfordian, so how many homeless people have you taken in, how many have you crossed the road to avoid. Talk is cheap, but this is what we have come to expect from socialists. Bob Geldof, cumberbatch, bono, brand, all bleeding heart super rich socialists who expect everyone else to deal with the problem, whilst they pick up gongs for what other people have done to help these people.
Salford Star wrote
at 12:20:42 AM on Thursday, January 28, 2016
See Old Salfordian's comment below...We couldn't agree with you more. Thanks for that.
Old Salfordian wrote
at 12:18:06 AM on Thursday, January 28, 2016
A poor, innocent, soul has lost his life and all we have in comments here is cheap, insensitive, opportunistic political point-scoring from has-been and wannabe local councillors. Shame on you all.
David cameron wrote
at 12:17:39 AM on Thursday, January 28, 2016
@mary ferrer. You might not know this, food banks were intraduced I think in 2001 by the labour government. Funny how the labour party and all the lefties cry about food banks and poverty, but poverty was just as rife under labour as it was under the Tories. You only have to look at this labour run council, people living on the street and doorways, people living in poverty and labour calling the Tories for this poverty, then this labour controlled council giving peel holding, BBC, RHS gardens millions of pounds of public money whilst the people there supposed to represent and protect go without food and shelter. Isn't the Labour Party just fantastic. They make the problem, then blame everybody else for the problem.
David cameron wrote
at 12:17:28 AM on Thursday, January 28, 2016
Just been watching RT news channel, police in Sweden have been knocking on people's doors threatening them with arrest for voicing their opinion online against the immigration crisis that is threatening Europe, seems Angela merkel is the new nazi leader of Germany and Europe. Europe has to wake up to the new nazi's that are trying to silence what so many died for in ww2, freedom, freedom of speech, freedom of thought. Britain needs to leave the dictatorship that is now the European Union. Ps if you want to know the real truth of what immigration is doing to Europe, you need to watch RT news channel 135 free view. Forget the BBC, channel 4, or sky news, there just following a leftwing biased agenda.
David cameron wrote
at 6:07:47 AM on Wednesday, January 27, 2016
Reg Howard and joe o'Neil, well said. Steve North still talking shit as usual. Ukip the only party that is in touch with 90% of the British public,time to stop yogurt knitters destroying the country. How many migrants has Steve North taken in to his home, being a socialist he should be the first in the queue to offer a home to a homeless immigrant. Ps the new Jon gaunt radio show on talk2meradio 10.00am till 1.00pm weekdays, great debates and discussions, internet radio, free app at App Store, brilliant show, no political correctness, discusses what is really going on in Europe with the immigration crisis, unlike the BBC and channel 4 yogurt knitters.
Reg Howard wrote
at 10:52:00 AM on Tuesday, January 26, 2016
Sorry Steve but it is you that is point scoring by saying that UKIP was nowhere to be seen, ask the people who Andy Olsen and his wife helped out with the use of his van, and the money given to the people to help buy cleaning materials,they were there long before the banner carrying politicos who arrived in time for the photo shoots.
joe oneill wrote
at 10:51:44 AM on Tuesday, January 26, 2016
Strange Steve perhaps you missed the pictures of our van and team members cleaning up, even down to raising cash, we must have missed you. Political point scoring? I think that's more in your arena. Tragedy yes sadly I am more concerned about the people struggling to find work, homes, and a future in a city devoid of most. Germany and France struggling to cope along with many more, have you looked around this city. I understand your hard left posturing sadly it's dead, gone the same way had Michael foots donkey jacket
Steven North wrote
at 6:38:50 AM on Tuesday, January 26, 2016
I totally reject what Joe O'Neil has written. Political point scoring on the back of a tragedy. The plight of people fleeing war torn countries is our shared problem - particularly given our long history of intervention in the middle-east. There would not need to be a choice between people fleeing the hell of war and people sleeping on the streets in Salford if we had a government that was actually prepared to challenge the wealth of those 58 people who own more than half the world. In fact a good start might be if we had a Chancellor who didn't allow large companies like Google to pick and choose what tax they pay. Blaming migrants and asylum seekers - in fact blaming foreigners in general - has always been the best tool for ensuring that ordinary people fight amongst themselves for the scraps while the rich enjoy the banquet. It doesn't surprise me to hear it from UKIP - a party that pretends to care about the poor people of this country but which was nowhere to be found while the rest of us were helping out clean up after the floods in Salford. Crawl back in your hole and stop trying to sell us your divide and rule nonsense. The people of our city are smarter (and more compassionate) than that.
mary ferrer wrote
at 1:12:24 PM on Monday, January 25, 2016
I haven't seen so many homeless people on the streets of Salford and Manchester for years.the cutbacks seem to be hitting the most vulnerable people. Young people coming out of care. People being made homeless because they can't pay their rents.for what ever reason,we can't allow this to happen.we must start looking after our own first.do we know how many food banks we have in this city. It was never heard of a few years ago.this is 2016 not 1816.
Joe O'Neill wrote
at 8:54:22 AM on Monday, January 25, 2016
Strange folk we are that find it acceptable in today's society to donate food, clothing and cash to the flood of people that today streams on mass into Europe and turn away from what we see in the street. We see of people in the main stream papers entering the country offered housing and complain that the doors are painted red. No matter what ever term we use Migrant or refugee the largest percent are young fit men how so they need to leave their own countries.I look around and wonder why do we allow our own people to sit and shiver in doorways afraid to sleep in fear of attack.Struggling to get benefits due to the system that was supposedly there to protect them,all the while our government cuts the grants to local councils who would in reality be the first port of call for these people who need help.Is it wrong to protect our own people first? We are according to what you read one of richest countries if so why does it make me feel physically sick when i read of the plight of our own citizens time after time all repeating what the star published today.
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