The Booth Centre in Manchester has raised more than £100,000 for the city’s homeless following their most successful sleepout yet, but campaigners warn this is a ‘crisis’.
On Friday 10th November more than 400 Mancunians spent the night on the street to raise money and awareness for the homeless charity.
The Manchester Sleepout is hugely important for us at the Booth Centre. We rely on the money you raise to continue providing vital advice, activities and support for homeless people, so from everyone here, thank you so much.
In 2016 the event raised £60,000 which has been completely eclipsed with this year’s raking in an incredible £105,340.
Among those taking to the streets was the always vocal Liberal Democrat Councillor John Leech, who recently attacked Manchester Council’s record on homelessness, affordable and social housing.
Recent disagreements over affordable housing in the town hall caused tensions to completely boil over, with Mayor Andy Burnham being forced to step in after Mr Leech accused the council of “social cleansing”. His stinging attack came after the council approved the construction of more than 2,500 homes – not a single one of which they could guarantee would be affordable.
Speaking at the Manchester Sleepout, John Leech said the fact that these fundraising and awareness events are still so important is a “depressing reminder of how badly homeless people have been systematically let down.”
“Events like this are a depressing reminder of how badly homeless people have been systematically let down.”
Cllr. John Leech
Billy Godfrey from The Booth Centre said: “The Manchester Sleepout is hugely important for us at the Booth Centre. We rely on the money raised to continue providing vital advice, activities and support for homeless people, so from everyone here, thank you so much.”
Though praising the organisation, Mr Leech added: “Organisations like The Booth Centre provide invaluable support, but events like this only just begin to give you an idea of how awful it must be to sleep on our streets.
“I know that tomorrow night I will be back under a roof and in my bed – that, however, is not the reality for anyone else sleeping on the streets of our city tonight.
“Manchester’s homeless strategy needs to be tackling the root causes of homelessness – before people end up on the streets, then getting them into homes.
“It is the single biggest crisis that we could, but choose not to tackle effectively.”
The Sleepout took place the same night Manchester welcomes back the world-famous Christmas markets.
The yearly event, organised by the Booth Centre, raises money and awareness for the rising number of rough sleepers in Manchester. Recent statistics show there are nearly 3,000 homeless people in Manchester, a rise of 33% from 2016.