Homeless Christmas Markets

Manchester City Council has come under fire as charity organiser claims homeless sites are moved to make way for Christmas markets.

Helping Manchester and Bury Homeless owner, Suzanne Angle, is arguing that the council are moving people from sites to hide Manchester’s homeless problem during tourist events and it is becoming a growing issue.

Just weeks after Manchester City Council were accused of moving rough sleepers during a royal visit, Suzanne Angle witnessed two council workers shovelling donations into a small wheelie bin on the corner of Deansgate and Bridge Street on November 21 at around 1.30pm.

The items, including a tent, trainers, clothing and a cellophaned sleeping bag, were being handed out to people who had lost their possessions in a Castlefield fire the week before.

Ms Angle said: “Places where once we’d be able to go on an outreach and find people, you can’t find them because if they start to set up a base they’re moved on because of the Christmas markets.

The soup kitchen plays a vital role for homeless people in the city centre.

“We had the same problem last year when we had the camp on Market Street, they were protesting after getting chucked out of the Stock Exchange and they were forced to move because [the council] basically wanted to put some Christmas stalls along Market Street so yeah I’d say that the problem is increasing really bad.”

The issue of homeless possessions being removed has become a growing issue in recent weeks after several incidents, including an online video that seems to show homeless tents being taken from a site near Oldham Street in the city centre, have been shared on social media.

Rough sleeping rates have drastically increased over the years. (Statistics via www.homeless.org.uk)

Fundraiser and formally homeless, Yasmin Younis added: “I used to work with Buckinghamshire County Council and the council do get a lot of complaints from the public so I can see both sides of the argument.

“People will complain about homeless people and the council will try to move them along but for some people they’re stuck in a vicious circle and there’s much mistrust that they don’t even want to be in shelters.”

Manchester City Council have been contacted for a comment.

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