Amidst the ongoing economic resurgence of Manchester, something lurking in the city’s underbelly is beginning to ruin Osborne and Wharton’s tea party.
Ali explained the concept of ‘Swan Upping’ to me this weekend – the annual census of the swan population. It’s a majestic and well regulated tradition, dating back to the twelfth century, when the Crown claimed ownership of all mute swans throughout parts of the River Thames.
Similarly in Manchester, the council undertake the less glamorous task of documenting rough sleepers in the city centre. It’s a process of which published data from the recording is both lauded and ridiculed, depending on the motives of the recipients. Where councillors will declare that there has been a reduction of homeless people of Manchester’s streets, others will be quick to point out that the figures have been somewhat skewed to create a false sense of achievement. This may include ambiguous terminology relating to the status of a homeless person, or offering rough sleepers accommodation on the evening of the census taking to downplay the issue.
For Manchester residents however, no degree of data manipulation can hide what is visible to them every day, and it is the citizenry rather than the powers of influence which have risen to the challenge of tackling this sociological problem.
To continue the ongoing observations into Manchester’s city centre homeless crisis, here is a list of some of the organisations, individuals and the like I have had contact with over the past couple of years:
The Booth Centre (@BoothCentre)
The Booth Centre provides activities, advice and support to people who are homeless in Manchester.
Mustard Tree (@MustardTreeMCR)
Combatting homelessness and disadvantage.
No Place Like (@NoPlaceLike_)
Perspectives on homelessness/the housing crisis in and around Manchester. Currently on the lookout for creative work to share via zine/blog.
Jed Austin (The Urban Poet) & Brogan Fox (@BroganProduction)
Currently working directly with Manchester homeless community to instil change and encourage debate. Also creators of recent #OutsideTheBox exhibition.
‘The Urban Poet’ YouTube channel