People sleeping rough in Trafford are being offered a dedicated place to sleep during the cold winter months.
Great Places Housing Group, working in partnership with Trafford Council, Trafford Housing Trust and Irwell Valley, has agreed to turn unoccupied office space into a night shelter, as part of the Mayor of Greater Manchester’s A Bed Every Night provision.
Currently, councils are only required to provide cold weather provision when the temperatures drop to 0C or below. But the 10 councils of Greater Manchester have now agreed with the Mayor of Greater Manchester, Andy Burnham, that there will be a bed every night for rough sleepers from 1st November up to 31st March.
Trafford Council has been providing beds for rough sleepers but now there is a dedicated provision for the A Bed Every Night scheme. The night shelter in Trafford has 10 bed spaces available at Pomona Gardens in Old Trafford, which is a supported accommodation scheme run by Great Places.
The shelter is already proving a success since opening on December 1, changing the life of one young man overnight.
Tony had fallen out with his family, been forced to leave home and, at just 18-years-old, was sleeping rough and living on the streets.
Now just turned 19, A Bed Every Night has helped him start to turn his life around.
Tony said: “I’d fallen out with my mum and sister and left home with nowhere to live. I was sleeping where I could in the day – friends floors or coaches; sometimes in cars – and then just try and stay up throughout the night on the streets. I did this for about 9 months and it was becoming pretty unbearable.
“A couple of weeks ago I just decided enough is enough and went to Trafford Housing, just hoping someone could help me. I managed to get into a B&B to begin with and then I was told there was a bed for me as part of the A Bed Every Night.
“I came here and spent a weekend and was then assigned a support worker and we then looked at the chances of me moving into a place. And this week I moved in to a two-bedroom flat . A bed every night really means that for me: from that one weekend and the relief it provides I now have a place I can call home. Off the streets and into my own home.”
It also means Tony can now look at getting a job or going back to college.
He added: “I used to do modelling so I am thinking of exploring opportunities of going back into that . I am also thinking of maybe going back to college and doing courses in sports coaching, which I was doing before I ended up on the streets.
“I can see a way forward now. Life is so much better.”
Cllr Kevin Procter, Trafford Council Executive Member for Communities and Housing, said: “It is heart-breaking when anyone has to sleep rough, all the more so during freezing weather.
“We are delighted to be able to commit to the A Bed Every Night scheme and would like to thank our partners – Great Places, Trafford Housing Trust (THT), Irwell Valley Housing Association and Moss Care St Vincent's; in enabling this to happen.”
Matthew Harrison, Chief Executive at Great Places, said: “Great Places is proud to be able to host a night provision in Trafford this year as part of 'A Bed Every Night’, drawing upon our existing close partnerships with Trafford Council, Housing Options Service, THT, Irwell Valley Homes and Moss Care St Vincent's.
“Tackling homelessness is high on our agenda as an organisation and being able to help people who don’t have accommodation during the winter is a real privilege.
“Taking action and working in partnership with other organisations across Greater Manchester is the only way we will end rough sleeping and make a significant difference to the those who need their city’s support.”
The night provision, which opened on Saturday, 1st December, is being provided free of charge, while Trafford Housing Trust has donated £5,000 for essential items to assist with the provision. Irwell Valley has agreed to provide an emergency room for A Bed Every Night when availability allows. Moss Care St Vincent’s has provided essential items that staff can give out to people who are accessing the night provision.