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 proposed new village 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 applying for jobs. 12 employers have signed up to 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: “This pandemic has only gone to further strain the resources of the poorest in our society and we sadly expect to see homelessness increase. We recently housed a chap who spent seven years going from shelter to shelter ever waiting for his golden ticket to a council flat – it never came. Our approach is to provide rented housing and formally end homelessness from day one. We aim to get people into full-time work and private rental sector housing, rather than council housing and benefits
“We interview everyone we assist and what we look for is a willingness to make progress, learn and, where possible, to work. The Village will provide residents with their own front door, and teach them the life skills they need to become independent and start contributing to society again. We’re so grateful for the generous support Peel L&P and CAPITAL&CENTRIC have shown us, as well as all the other companies who’ve made this project possible.”
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.