By Linsey Parkinson
A government announcement that local authorities should house all rough sleepers hasn’t ‘fixed’ the problem of homelessness, even temporarily. People are still on the streets and at risk and Reach Out to the Community’s Stephanie Moore (above, second from the right) has found that the team is busier than ever.
“There are still lots of rough sleepers out there and it’s down to a combination of issues,” she says. “We’re doing regular outreach and welfare checks and referring as many people indoors as we can, but finding someone a temporary room is the tip of the iceberg.
“The demands of social distancing have meant a big reduction in existing hostel capacity and hotels aren’t well set up to cope with rough sleepers who may have complex needs. Some homeless people just don’t want to be there and have walked out; others can’t cope with the isolation after life on the streets.
The Reach Out team (almost all volunteers) is now working in partnership to deliver food supplies and care to those in greatest need. “We’re working with Barnabus, Feed My City and the Reverend Ellie Trimble to make packed lunches for those on the streets and hot meals for those in temporary accommodation. We’re also still preparing food parcels for families who find themselves in food poverty.
“It’s a massive joint effort: we’re all working collectively, pooling people, donation and resources and directing them to where they’ll have the most benefit. We’re now helping clients right across the city and numbers are growing all the time.
“We know times are tough for everyone, but we’re in urgent need of donations and appreciate anything that people feel they’re able to offer. We have a web page for cash donations, but we also especially need takeaway containers, paper bags and any kind of food – nonperishables (and nappies, toiletries etc) for the food bank packages, but fresh food is also most welcome, because we’re cooking every day.”
Drop donations of food and other essentials at Reach Out to the Community’s shop in Chorlton.
11am to 3pm, Monday to Friday
Knock at the back door, but please don’t leave bags outside if the shop is closed.
This article originally appeared in Open Up Chorlton and South Manchester magazine, May-June 2020