Incredibly an old three floor publicly owned surgery in Eccles has stood vacant for around twenty years while people are desperate to get a roof over their heads. Now the building has been spruced up by volunteers and occupied as a homeless shelter as the nights get colder and colder.
Around a dozen people have taken up residence in the building, ranging from those with complex needs to Stacey, who was about to face the choice of staying in a seriously abusive relationship or living on the streets...
"What these guys are doing here is saving lives" she says "Without this place we would be out in the cold at this time of year. I've got a dog so it was either stay in that abusive relationship, go in a tent or come in with these guys. They literally saved me from going onto the streets. It's saved my life in two ways."
All the windows have Section 144 notices displayed, which means the residents can only be forced to leave by a County Court or High Court order. In the meantime, the Manchester Solidarity Centre, supported by Salford and Manchester Street Support, is bringing in food, clothes and other essentials to help, not only people on the streets but also local people on the breadline, having set up a foodbank in the building.
"A group of us came together and networked because we don't want any more deaths on the streets" says Angela Barratt from Salford and Manchester Street Support "So we took this building to get people with complex needs off the streets.
"We're helping some of them to get on the housing list, with doctors and dentists, and helping them with birth certificates and referring them to 'a bed for the night' from here" she adds "A lot of them, some from Salford, some from Manchester, have made this home now. We're one big family."
Reuben, from Manchester Solidarity Centre, underlines the point, explaining that "We're bringing them in through outreach teams and keeping them warm and safe but we're also including people in the project who are able to provide access to training and work. We're not just putting them up in a house on their own and setting them up to fail through isolation and lack of resources."
And Stuart, who has been homeless in Salford himself but is now helping out, tells of bureaucratic cock-ups in the much lauded 'bed for the night' scheme run by the authorities, which left one bloke homeless even though he was referred to a hostel in Walkden...
"By mistake his name wasn't on the list, so he was homeless again until it was rectified" he says "Then he was put up in a hotel in Manchester for five nights, costing the Council a scandalous amount of money, before he had to go through the whole process again. That's not supporting anyone, that's just going around in circles.
"They need people with lived experience who have been there and done it" he adds "I've been there and it's horrible so I'm trying to help people who are in the situation I have been in."
...People like Steven, who, at one point, was homeless for twenty years... "I've seen so many deaths on the streets, but one night I was brought here and it's amazing what people have done...there's food on the table, shelter over our heads...More places like this, less deaths on the streets..."
The groups are now just waiting to see what the authorities are going to do legally about the occupation...
"Everyone here is entitled to housing benefit and we're willing to pay rent for a building that's been empty for twenty years" Stuart offers. But it will probably fall on deaf NHS ears.
"If it wasn't for these fellas there would be a lot of people out there" says one of the residents, pointing to the howling wind hitting the windows "They do an absolute diamond job..."
This Eccles homeless shelter isn't just a shelter and foodbank. It's also a D.I.Y. statement on the failure of the current homeless system, no matter how much the politicians hype up the 'progress'...