Plans announced to transform the empty Longford Centre into 38-bed temporary accommodation
Manchester City Council has submitted a planning application to convert Chorlton’s Longford Centre into emergency temporary accommodation.
Subject to approval, the 38-bed centre will be one of around 50 housing and accommodation offers for the homeless in Manchester, each catering to different groups of people. It will be open 24 hours a day, seven days a week, and provide intensive support to single people and childless couples who are new to homelessness and have low to medium support needs.
Food and accommodation will be provided, along with activities designed to rebuild confidence and help visitors access independent accommodation, employment, training or other opportunities. Other organisations will be asked to help provide daytime activities such as gardening, cooking or art, and local residents who’d like to contribute will be encouraged to volunteer.
Services are being co-designed by the council in collaboration with voluntary and public sector organisations who work with homeless people, as well as those who have experienced homelessness themselves. Since the reasons are so wide-ranging, these will be tailored to each individual - from mediation with families to healthcare advice and financial guidance. Entry will be a via a referral process.
Councillor Bernard Priest, deputy leader of Manchester City Council, said: “This new centre will be just one part of Manchester's ongoing response to the challenge of homelessness but it is another important ingredient and it's a key component of the Greater Manchester framework being championed by Mayor Andy Burnham.
“By bringing a range of services together under one roof and giving people a safe and welcoming environment in which to receive support and move forward in their lives, we aim to help prevent people ending up on the streets.
"This is not a substitute for helping rough sleepers and other homeless people, which we and our partner organisations will continue to do, but is intended to provide early help to those on the very edge of homelessness. It’s something we’re keen to have in place for when colder weather sets in.”
Two drop-in consultations have taken place, and there will be further opportunities for Chorlton residents to input as part of the planning process.
The planning application comes just as Greater Manchester Mayor Andy Burnham announced, last week, a new action plan to end homelessness - including an additional £1.8million of funding.
As part of his pledge to end rough sleeping in Manchester by 2020, Burnham will also continue to donate 15% of his salary into his Homelessness Fund, which has already provided grants of over £30,000, including support for a fifteen-bed homeless hostel in Cheetham Hill - Stop, Start, Go - which will be officially opened tomorrow (World Homeless Day).
Those who wish to donate to the fund can do so online through www.gofundme.com/gm-mayoral-fund