Throughout the month of December, Manchester based readers of Iraq Solidarity News (Al-Thawra), extended their solidarity with the British homeless community. Donating sleeping bags, toiletries and winter appropriate clothing, readers were encouraged to get involved, after being contacted by a support worker with Manchester’s homeless community.
Provisions were handed out by an existing organisation, with a long standing reputation in the community. They also provided workers with existing relationships with the homeless, which guaranteed efficiency in the distribution of donations. By taking part, Iraq Solidarity News (Al-Thawra) was able to gain a valuable insight in to the causes of homelessness.
Some of those “rough sleeping” in Manchester, included young people facing discrimination or domestic abuse at home. According to a youth worker, “The inability to find affordable housing, in an economy insecure with employment opportunities, can also result in young people, overstaying their welcome at friends houses.”
Other causes of homelessness, included mental health issues, where changes in welfare structures, along with difficulties faced by treating those who live alone, often resulted in “family breakdown” and “economic isolation”.
The loss of a profession and support networks, were highlighted by a man, who through donations by his local community, was reunited with family in London. As a result of a crowdfunding campaign, his family had become aware of his situation because he had “just disappeared” after being discharged from the Army.
A spokesperson for the Iraq Solidarity Campaign, which runs Iraq Solidarity News (Al-Thawra) has stated: “From displacement camps across Iraq, to the streets of London and Manchester, the causes may be different but the need is the same. There is no difference between the insecurity of living in a UN tent or on the UK’s streets. Everyone has the potential to make a difference on this.”
For more information or to make a donation please see:
Mad Dog Street Project
Help for Homeless Veterans
The Manchester Central Foodbank
The Chorlton and Didsbury Foodbank