A planning application has today (Friday 6 October) been submitted by Manchester City Council to transform an empty former residential care home into a 38-bed homelessness prevention centre.
The proposals for the Longford Centre in Chorlton have been lodged following pre-planning meetings with local residents who have indicated broad support for the scheme, which will provide temporary emergency accommodation to prevent people losing their homes and help them move forwards in their lives. Many have already volunteered to provide support. People will now be able to give their views as part of the planning process.
The centre, subject to approval, will be one of around 50 different housing associations and accommodation offers for homeless people in Manchester, with each providing support to different groups of homeless people and meeting different needs.
The centre would be staffed 24 hours a day, seven days a week and created to help single people and childless couples who are new to homelessness by providing a safe and welcoming environment in which they can receive intensive support.
Services at the centre are being co-designed by the Council with voluntary sector and public sector organisations who work with homeless people and with people who have experienced homelessness themselves.
The centre will provide accommodation (including food) and support services under one roof plus planned activities to help people who have recently lost their homes to rebuild their confidence and move on into independent accommodation, and employment, training or other opportunities.
There are many reasons why people become homeless and this support will be flexible and tailored to the individual. For some it might be mediation with their family to help them get home. For others it might be help sorting out health or debt problems.
The centre will be available for people who are new to homelessness and have low to medium – rather than the highest – support needs. It is intended to supplement the range of existing accommodation and support services and people who need it will be referred to the centre by Council homelessness services and other organisations working with people who are homeless.
Councillor Bernard Priest, Deputy Leader of Manchester City Council, said: “Preventing people from losing their homes in the first place is every bit as important as helping people off the streets. What we want is fewer people ending up there so this centre is a crucial piece of the overall picture and something we believe will make a real difference . If we can help prevent those one the very edge of homeless from falling into it, we will be taking a significant step towards addressing this challenge.
“The reasons why people become homeless are complex but we also need concerted action at a national level to address some of the reasons, such as welfare changes, why more people are losing their homes.”