HOME   ARCHIVE   GALLERY   SHOP   ABOUT US      
 

 
HOMELESS SQUAT OPENS UP FACING MANCHESTER TOWN HALL
 

Star date: 15th December 2017

'PIRATE SHIP' OPENS ABOVE BETFRED, FACING TOWN HALL, AS COUNCIL AND FRED DONE SLAMMED

"I'm right outside your house now and I'm going to turn mine into a giant pirate ship and help as many people as I can..." Chris Blaine

A new squat has opened up opposite Manchester Town Hall and above BetFred as a D.I.Y. night shelter and 'pirate ship' to help the city's homeless.

In the process, activists have made five demands on Manchester Council and GM Mayor, Andy Burnham; while arguing that all the efforts of charities and homeless organisations "amount to nothing". Here we present, direct from the squat, a Christmas message to the authorities.

Full details here...


Squat Opens Up Facing Manchester Town Hall Squat Opens Up Facing Manchester Town Hall Squat Opens Up Facing Manchester Town Hall
Squat Opens Up Facing Manchester Town Hall Squat Opens Up Facing Manchester Town Hall Squat Opens Up Facing Manchester Town Hall
Squat Opens Up Facing Manchester Town Hall
click image to enlarge

'...Six places at a fire station doesn't cut it....'

Today, new figures have appeared about yet another rise in homelessness in the country. But you don't need figures and statistics. Walk down Cross Street in the centre of Manchester and you pass at least ten people wrapped in blankets. The entrance to number 86 is very grand, with marble pillars...and evidence of at least three people sleeping rough in the set back doorway.

The next shop front along is BetFred – with owner, Fred Done, building publicly subsidised, unaffordable properties all over Salford and Manchester to flog to the Chinese.* And directly across the road, through the consumer orgy of the Christmas Market in Albert Square, is Manchester Town Hall.

And here, above BetFred, is the latest squat occupied by up to 15 homeless people. There's been other high profile squats at the Ducie Bridge pub and the Cornerhouse but this one is perhaps the most symbolic...

In a message to Richard Leese, Leader of Manchester City Council, one of the occupiers, Chris Blaine, says defiantly "I'm right outside your house now and I'm going to turn mine into a giant pirate ship and help as many people as I can..."

The political elephant in the room of Richard Leese and Greater Manchester Manchester Mayor, Andy Burnham, and his homelessness lead, Salford Mayor, Paul Dennett, is that, despite all the talk of solving homelessness; and, despite what seems like a zillion charities and organisations and people raising money, food and clothes for the homeless, the problem seems to be getting worse. Hence the need for this illegal D.I.Y. night shelter.

"What we've got at the moment in Manchester is a massive amount of homeless people" says Chris "None are starving because we've got a massive amount of food, and none of those people are going unclothed because we've got a massive amount of clothes. Nor are we struggling for volunteers because we've got god-honest people from the community out in town providing services for those lads and lasses sleeping in doorways and dying in doorways. Those services were never provided by the Council, nor any big private organisation, it's the community that kept us alive. 

"Now" he adds "the community has been conned into working within a coalition of organised relief that is a load of bollocks; that wants us all to go to one place out of town so Richard Leese can stand on the steps of his town hall and say 'We've dealt with the homeless problem', when he hasn't. He's just sold all the buildings and all the land and we've all been pushed to the outer areas...

"...yet people who were already struggling, already poor, already had all their services shut down have come to Manchester because that's where the money is" he explains "So we've got all these people walking around town doing all these things, and do you know what it amounts to? Absolutely nothing. That sounds harsh and I don't mean that in a bad way towards people who are doing it; I mean, it amounts to the fact that the Council can just go on washing their hands of any responsibility towards the people who are on the streets in terms of housing them long term.

"A butty, a pair of socks, some clean underwear...all this effort is going to waste as there's nowhere warm or dry" he says "There's supposed to be, but there isn't. And six places at a fire station doesn't cut it. The only thing we need to make all that more effective is a building to do it in; so, again, I'm being a pirate and I'm sat on Cross Street, right above BetFred, who's slowly gentrifying my home town of Salford. He's making millions out of his little shop below, so I've now got three empty floors with electric, running water, a roof and security. We moved in and made a new house on the corner."

Chris says that during the occupation of Gary Neville's Stock Exchange building a few years ago, promises were made to homeless activists that were never kept... "We've tried everything since then to get the Council to step up to its responsibilities but no-one's listened."

Meanwhile, Greater Manchester Mayor, Andy Burnham, has also made pledges regarding ending homelessness... "He seems like a man who wants to do something about the issue but the one thing he still hasn't done is dealt with the here and now; he still hasn't opened a building that can house the rough sleepers of Manchester" Chris explains.

Chris sees such a building as a major agent of change, with an open invitation to every organisation in Manchester to send representatives to help with homeless issues and win the trust of the street community. In the absence of the authorities acting, this squat, or 'house on the corner', is set to be a prototype...

"We're showing here, hopefully, how this can be done by a group of volunteers who are not professionals, who are not trained but who do have an idea, do have a care and do have an intention to make a difference" he explains "I'm going to do it as safely as possible and open it up to the public and the press.

"This isn't about anarchy, this isn't about being an activist, this isn't about charity - this is about the right to have a home; this about belonging and having a community and support" he adds "So we're going to show you how it's done and make loads of noise. We're fed up of walking past it, we're fed up of listening to your excuses and we're fed up of your inaction..."

And in a further Christmas message to Richard Leese, Andy Burnham and Paul Dennett, Chris made five demands...

1) "Provide social housing with the support to stay there – that means rent that a person on a minimum wage can afford to pay and still have money left at the end of the week..."
 
2) "Start a housing co-op for evictees who are going to be thrown into the street, regardless of what they are being evicted for – a stock of 300 houses that are owned by the people, not the council. 300 three bed properties is easily attainable for Greater Manchester authorities."

3) "Decriminalise residential squatting and follow the same procedure that they are doing in Ireland - there is no reason for empty houses to remain empty in a city as affluent as Manchester in a country as affluent as England."

4) "Open more night shelters - and make them more homely, not sterile, not regimented, not institutionalised. Make them like a place you would want to come to and feel relaxed."

5) "A big central hub in the centre of Manchester – it's needed because people are coming from all over into the centre of the city because it's like London, everyone's drawn to the dream. The hub should be mainly for those under 26, stocked with stuff that kids would find interesting; instruments, a studio, offices for outreach..."

 
In the meantime, the 'house on the corner' has happened because, as Chris says, Burnham's pledge of ending homelessness by 2020 "is not quick enough". Now, up to 15 residents in the squat, aged from early twenties to people in their sixties, have taken up residence...

"All have problems but nobody has a drug or alcohol addiction and they have all been ruled as 'no priority need', or 'no point of contact' so they're not getting any help" says Chris "This is the blag that Manchester Council is using for the homeless who turn up at Manchester Town Hall...

"At the Ducie Bridge pub we had an 18 year old pregnant girl who was not 'priority need' and an 18 year old girl with severe asperger's, who was also a sexual abuse victim, who was 'no priority need'" he recalls

"You need to provide a safe space during the day where these young people can go, where they are not being harassed by drug pushers, sex workers, paedophiles, bullies and predators who are all over our city, every night, feeding on the young who are in our doorways" he adds "We can provide a place for them, it's dead straight forward...

"To the community I say, 'If you want to see an end to rough sleeping in Manchester, if you want to see real provision being provided then come down to the new 'house on the corner' and get involved, we really need your help'" he urges "And my Christmas message to Andy Burnham is 'Get your arse over here, Andy'; and to Richard Leese, 'Come and get your hands dirty for once'..."


The house on the corner is situated above BetFed at 86 Cross Lane. For entrance buzz on the door, turn right at the corner and wait in the side alley...


See also previous Salford Star articles...

* Fred Done £22million publicly subsidised flats marketed to Hong Kong investors - click here

Salford Second Highest Level of Homelessness in the North West – click here

Ken wrote
at 06:29:23 on 20 December 2017
Why dies nobody admit that a lot of the current homeless are in this position because they are beyond help? They've been through every charity's door, and either refuse help, refuse to engage, or cause that much trouble they're barred from setting foot in the places again. They're not all innocent angels simply down on their luck.
 
Ask Fred wrote
at 15:48:11 on 15 December 2017
I see the famous trademark word DEMANDS. Is this the latest Flag Ship idea of Salford community pirate Felsey. What is he up to having tossed a £25,000 election costs granade in Salford. My money is on UKIP standing against Myr Andy Burnham if Labour Greater Manchester mayor fails on his homelessness promise. Is it true Fred Done is backing Felsey to eradicate homelessness a sure way of betting on a Knighthood. We need to ask Fred.
 
Please enter your comment below:
 
 
 
Salford Star Hoodies
Salford Star contact
Deli Lama
advertisement
 
Contact us
phone: 07957 982960
Facebook       Twitter
 
 
Recent comments
article: SALFORD COUNCIL REFUSES TO REVEAL WHO PAID FOR CITY MAYOR TRIP TO SOUTH OF FRANCE
A good journalist should be like a good barrister , and should only ask questions that they already know the answer to. I have a ... [more]
article: COURT RULES SALFORD MAN WRONGLY EVICTED BY SALIX HOMES AFTER HE SPENT NINE MONTHS ON THE STREETS
Well, all the great housing providers in this city,Salix ,City west, Pendleton togeother all got their houses and flats for nothin... [more]
article: COURT RULES SALFORD MAN WRONGLY EVICTED BY SALIX HOMES AFTER HE SPENT NINE MONTHS ON THE STREETS
This man of boundless compassion and decency, that Phil goes on about, would he like to give his great admirer a few tips on how p... [more]
article: SALFORD COUNCIL REFUSES TO REVEAL WHO PAID FOR CITY MAYOR TRIP TO SOUTH OF FRANCE
See Rossi's comment below...No you weren't censored - your comment just got lost in the tsunami of spam we're getting since we rem... [more]
article: COURT RULES SALFORD MAN WRONGLY EVICTED BY SALIX HOMES AFTER HE SPENT NINE MONTHS ON THE STREETS
I am a tenant of Salix Homes, and I can honestly say that they are a law unto themselves and don't give a fart about their tenants... [more]
 
 
 
 
 
Days
Hours
Minutes
Seconds
 
 
 

Donate

Help the Salford Star...

all donations welcome

 
 

More articles...

MIND NUMBING £18MILLION PFI COSTS PER YEAR FOR SALFORD CITY COUNCIL

Star date: 25th June 2018

COUNCIL SCREWED FOR £18.7MILLION PER YEAR PFI SCHOOLS AND HOUSING COSTS

Schools and Pendleton Together Housing schemes set up under the Private Finance Initiative, or PFI, are costing Salford Council £18.7million per year – after Government grants.

Over the life of the schemes, interest payments alone will be over £242million, with a total PFI liability of £804,931,000. Much of this money will end up in offshore companies.

Full details here...

SALFORD POLICE ATTEND WASHING MACHINE OPENING IN ECCLES

Star date: 24th June 2018

POLICE CUT RED RIBBON AS ECCLES GETS NEW WASHING MACHINE

Salford PCSOs, a representative from UNISON and other guests celebrated the opening of a new washing machine in Eccles this week.

While the idea of a formal unveiling of a washing machine is hilarious, this particular washing machine is very special indeed.

Full details here...

SALFORD SAVE OUR NURSERIES CAMPAIGN FAMILY FUN DAY

Star date: 24th June 2018

CAR BOOT AND KIDS' FUN IN BUILE HILL PARK

Save Our Nurseries Family Fun Day/Car Boot Sale
Sunday 1st July Car boot 10am-2pm/Fun Day 12 noon-4pm
Buile Hill Park

The Salford Save Our Nurseries Campaign is having a car boot sale followed by a Family Fun Day next Sunday to raise funds for the next stage of the fight to save the city's five outstanding Council run nurseries.

Full details here...

SALFORD CHARITY NIGHT FOR SPRINGWOOD PRIMARY SCHOOL

Star date: 24th June 2018

HOMEGROWN PLAY KERSAL CLUB FOR SPRINGWOOD

Springwood Primary Charity Night
Friday 19th October 7:30pm
Kersal Club £10

Tickets have now gone on sale for a Charity Night at the Kersal Club in October, with headline act, Homegrown, the ace UB40 tribute band. The night is a fundraiser for Springwood Primary School which caters for children with Special Education Needs, and organisers are looking for anyone to donate raffle prizes.

Full details here...

RUBBISH SHAKESPEARE COMES TO SALFORD

Star date: 23rd June 2018

ROMEO AND JULIET DONE RUBBISH

The Rubbish Shakespeare Company presents…
Romeo and Juliet
Friday 13th July 6pm
Salford Arts Theatre £10/£6

Just what every kid needs – Shakespeare done very silly. Yep the Rubbish Shakespeare Company is doing Romeo and Juliet at Salford Arts Theatre, complete with an all male cast, a comic twist and bad wigs, as Ian Leslie discovers.

Full details here...

 



written and produced by Salfordians for Salfordians
with attitude and love xxx