Finding somewhere safe to sleep in Manchester can be a daunting, challenging experience. Having nowhere to go can wear you thin, quickly, taking from every other aspect of your life. You can be homeless for a wide variety of reasons, not all of which are under your control.
A safe place to sleep is vital. Cornerstone is a day centre serving the people of Manchester. A dedicated team of staff and volunteers have put in place emergency accommodation for the increasing number of people facing homelessness and destitution, including the growing population of refugees.
Cornerstone provides a safe place to sleep amongst the concrete jungle of Manchester. With ten emergency ‘pods,’ affectionately referred to as ‘Safe Havens,’ the temporary accommodation provides shelter and safety to people who would otherwise have to sleep rough. Those who benefit from the Safe Haven project also have access to food, showers and washing facilities, plus all the other vital support services that Cornerstone provides to help people find more permanent accommodation.
Cornerstone has been providing services within the local community for the last twenty five years. On this anniversary year, Cornerstone proves that they have not become set in their ways; rather they are still expanding and responding to the needs of each person from the community who walks through the centre’s doors each day.
Last winter, Cornerstone ran a pilot scheme. The pilot included three pods, accommodating up to fourteen people each night. As a pilot scheme, the project was a great success and provided a lifeline to the beneficiaries.
After a successful pilot scheme, Cornerstone now has plans for 10 Safe Haven pods, meaning we are able to offer emergency accommodation for up to 20 people each night. We are hoping that all ten pods will be in place by winter.
People who use the Safe Haven pods are welcomed by a caring and supportive team of people, who are committed to helping them. Our goal is to work closely with other voluntary organisations and Manchester City Council to help people move into their own accommodation, utilising the city wide approach embodied in the Manchester Homelessness Charter. Cornerstone has been working with the emergency accommodation action group, as part of the Manchester Homeless Charter.
Angela Shannon, Manager at Cornerstone, said; “There is a desperate need for more accommodation. The Big Sleep Out was a great event and the money raised will make all the difference. We get up to 200 people at the centre on a daily basis; around 20 per cent of those are sleeping rough.”
Safe Haven Pods have become a crucial first stepping stone for people wanting to secure more permanent accommodation. In the near future we hope to be able to provide emergency and temporary accommodation to over 40 people.