A number of fire stations in Manchester are providing shelter to the city’s homeless upon the request of its mayor. As per LAD BIBLE, Manchester Central and Ashton stations have converted common areas into temporary shelters and living spaces, which will be run by care workers, to help house rough sleepers in the dangerously cold weather.
Tony Hunter, Greater Manchester Fire and Rescue Service’s assistant county fire officer, said:
“For a number of years now GMFRS has been championing all of its fire stations as community assets and opening its doors to members of the public so it is a natural step for the service to support the ongoing homelessness work in the city.
“The community rooms that are being used as part of this initiative are heated and have hot and cold water and toilet facilities. The rooms are separate from the operational areas of the stations and the initiative is supported by partners who will be at the station to facilitate people using the building, which allows firefighters to continue to do their jobs and respond to incidents in the usual way.”
There are nearly 200,000 homeless people, equivalent to a city the size of Newcastle, living on the streets across the United Kingdom; many of these people lost their homes due to last year’s crises. With temperatures set to drop to -5C, this “natural step” for the emergency service to help out comes as a breather. Greater Manchester mayor Andy Burnham noted:
“This is a clear example of all agencies in Greater Manchester pulling together to help support some of the most vulnerable people in our city region. Whilst most of us are enjoying the festive season, for those who have no choice but to sleep on the streets it is a lonely, dangerous, and potentially life-threatening time.”