Posted 05 Dec 2018
Shelter Manchester to hold vigil for lost homeless people
Housing charity Shelter is inviting the public to take part in a candlelit vigil to commemorate the homeless people who have died in Manchester this year.
Homeless charities, faith leaders and the public are set to gather at 6.30pm on 13 December in Sackville Gardens, Manchester.
John Ryan, manager at Shelter Manchester, said: “This ceremony is being held in the memory of all the homeless men and women who died in the last year, and we would welcome the public to join us for a few quiet words, and reflection on those we have lost.
“Our services in Greater Manchester are working to help people off the streets and into suitable homes, and every day we see the brutal damage that life on the street can have on a person’s health.
"We’re glad the government recently announced in it’s Rough Sleeping Strategy that they are to start recording the deaths of homeless people properly. We can’t address this problem if we don’t understand its scale, or the reasons behind it.
"But we also remember that every one of these tragic statistics was a real person, with a name. They had friends and families, and never deserved to be invisible to the authorities. That’s why we are marking their passing.”
The vigil comes after a shocking investigation by the Bureau of Investigative Journalism last month revealed that 449 people had died while sleeping rough in the UK in the last year – a figure that has never been officially recorded.
A list of the names of those homeless people who have died in Manchester in the past year will be read out at a ceremony in Sackville Gardens in the Gay Village, before the public are asked to light candles in their memory.
NOTES TO EDITOR:
- Shelter helps millions of people every year struggling with bad housing or homelessness through our advice, support and legal services. We campaign to make sure that, one day, no one will have to turn to us for help. For free and independent advice from Shelter visit: https://england.shelter.org.uk/get_help
- An investigation in October 2018 by the Bureau of Investigative Journalism revealed that 449 street homeless people died in the previous year.
- The Office for National Statistics will reveal their first street homeless deaths figures on December 20th 2018.
- Shelter Community Organiser Bryn Phillips and Shelter service managers will be joined by Greater Manchester faith leaders including Rabbi Robyn Ashworth-Steen (Manchester Reform Synagogue), Reverend Ellie Trimble (Church of the Apostles, Manchester with St Cuthbert’s Miles Platting), Mohammed Ali (Khizra Mosque and Community Centre), Mohammed Ullah (Muslim Chaplain, Manchester Metropolitan University. Sukhbir Singh (Council of Five Manchester Gurdwaras), Nidhi Minocha (Manchester Hindu community) and the Reverend Cody Coyne (Cross Street Unitarian Chapel, Manchester).
- The list of the deceased has been drawn up using data from the BIJ, plus Shelter’s own records from its homeless support services on the ground.