Andy Burnham’s flagship ‘A Bed Every Night’ shelter has permanently closed fewer than three months after opening.
The news comes just 48 hours after Manchester Council approved spending £1.2m on fountains – enough to house every single rough sleeper in Manchester for a year, along with a hot meal, warm shower and access to a support worker.
The homeless shelter in Ardwick launched with a huge organised press launch in November but only opened a handful of times before closing its doors for good on Christmas Eve due to basic structural and electrical problems.
There have been numerous concerns raised about how the scheme was being run in Manchester, with reports of people being turned away if they didn’t arrive before 7pm.
Manchester Liberal Democrat leader John Leech, who works continuously with people struggling to overcome the Council’s “absurd hoops”, said:
“The launch of this scheme was a pitch-perfect PR stunt; in the weeks leading up to Christmas, journalists and the media were chaperoned around the shelter in a heart-aching display of just how much homelessness has become a political football.
“Now that the media have moved on, the shelter is quietly closing its doors fewer than three months after opening.
“But just days prior, Labour also wasted £1.2m on revamping failing fountains – that’s enough to house every single rough sleeper for an entire year.
“Labour must stop wasting money; no more vanity projects, no more fountains, no more comfy chairs, no more senior pay rises – nothing – all this waste has to stop!
“It’s not just gross incompetence and a complete lack of priorities, or even just a national embarrassment, but a critical and consistent failure of a system that simply doesn’t care.”