A very welcome initiative will make use of one of Manchester’s derelict sites.
At a time where 5,564 people across Greater Manchester are struggling with homelessness, Manchester-based charity Embassy has announced that they are launching a brand new initiative – which aims to help the city’s homeless and vulnerable men get back on their feet.
Working with developers Peel L&P and CAPITAL&CENTRIC – who have both helped to develop Manchester into the thriving city it is today – the new initiative, named the Embassy Village, will provide up to 40 new permanent modular homes, all of which will be made from repurposed shipping containers.
Providing safe and secure homes for those in need, the new village – which has been officially approved by Manchester City Council – will take up residence on the currently derelict site below the railway arches between the Bridgewater Canal and River Irwell in the city centre, with start-to-end support provided to help vulnerable men get back on their feet.
The support will include a community hub where residents will be able to undertake training and mentoring, chat with others, make use of a sports area and even grow vegetables. Support workers will also ensure each resident is given six hours a week of dedicated time, as well as provide them with the life skills they’ll need to move forward such as shopping and budgeting, cooking, how to manage a home, interview prep and help to apply for jobs. 12 employers have signed up for the initiative so far, providing the much-needed roles needed to help residents transition back into independent living.
Sir Richard Leese, Leader of Manchester City Council, said: “Meeting the growing demand for emergency accommodation to support people vulnerable to homelessness is a major challenge – particularly at this time of year when the number of people asking for support, particularly people sleeping rough, is at its height. Developing a Housing First opportunity in the city is welcome and I hope this type of community has the potential to provide life-changing help for people facing homelessness in Manchester.”
Sid Williams of Embassy said: “We’re absolutely ecstatic that the plans have been approved and it really couldn’t be more timely. Homelessness is at risk of creeping up again with targeted COVID emergency support schemes like Everyone In closing. Add to that the Government ban on evictions and furlough schemes ending and we could be facing an even bigger problem.
“We need long-term solutions that don’t just paper over the cracks. The Embassy Village will help get people back on their feet, find a job and get into normal rental accommodation without the need for benefits but with continued support from our team to help them reintegrate into society. None of this would have been possible without the support of Peel L&P and CAPITAL&CENTRIC, the generosity of 25 amazing Manchester businesses who’ve given their time for free, and the Greater Manchester Mayor’s Charity. I can’t thank them all enough.”
Embassy was launched back in 2019 by husband and wife duo Sid and Tess Williams and in just two years, the team has managed to develop a track record of helping residents to resettle into secure long-term accommodation and find routes back into work by collaborating with local employers. Life for Embassy began as an emergency bus where homeless people could seek shelter and the vital support needed to help them transition back into working life.
Homelessness has increased drastically in Manchester over the last five years, with more people expected to be affected in the spring once the government’s pandemic eviction ban expires.