‘It’s getting really dangerous out here’ – meet the people on the frontline of the homelessness crisis in Manchester

  • NQ meets with homeless people in the city centre
  • Figures reveal homelessness is still on the rise in Manchester

Last year, the government released figures showing that there were 4,751 rough sleepers in the UK, an increase of 15% on the year before.

The Northern Quota met with those sleeping rough to find out what impact homelessness has on their everyday lives.

Sarah Moran, 41, who is originally from Yorkshire, said: “I relocated to Manchester two years ago due to domestic violence. I’ve been here two years now. I got stuck in a hostel and it was just full of misery and sin and all the girls were struggling in there.”

Sarah said being female and homeless comes with its own set of problems. She told NQ she was sometimes approached by men asking to pay for sex – “which is really, really scary”.

“I’ve been robbed and had everything taken off me, had everything stolen off me. You end up having to fight with men, because men are bullying you.”

Reece Choudruy, 43, of Levenshulme, said: “I was hitting the drink, then I started taking a bit of drugs. I don’t want all that, I don’t want to be like that. Too much violence, getting jumped on, especially round these places.

Then you get jumped on, you lose your teeth, you lose your life, you lose your confidence, you lose your respect

“My friend got burnt in China Town last year or the year before. He was going to Ireland – James Evans – he didn’t get there. He was in China Town, rough sleeping, first floor. [He] got burnt alive, poor guy was only going to Ireland and he didn’t make it.”

Laurence Little, 31, of Withington said: “I was living with my missus and my kids – my mum died. After my mum died, I split with my missus and my kids and I found out my brother disappeared back to Devon.

“My other brother has disappeared too, I can’t find him either.  Now I’m on the streets pretty much, I’ve got no family whatsoever.

Laurence says spice is prevalent on the streets. “A lot of people – straight out of jail – straight out on to the streets, they start smoking spice, then they stay out on the streets themselves.”

Mark ‘Johnson’, 50, of Beswick, said: “One day when I got up, me mam was dead. My brother had terminal cancer and I found him dead the same day. Three years down the line, I’m still on the street and I’ve moved up about 20 places in three years on the council’s list – it’s ridiculous.”

On the discovery of his dead mother, Johnson said: “There’s nothing else like it, you don’t even want to know. If you’ve not been there, you don’t want to go there. When you do go there – touch wood it’s not for a long time – but when you do go there, you’ll know.”