25 September 2017   |  Last Updated 29-04-2015 06:55

      Manchester City Council threatens peaceful homeless protest with eviction notices and rent charges

       

      A homeless camp demonstrating against Manchester City Council cuts has yet again been served with eviction papers, and now been told that they will have to start paying ground rent for the land they’re occupying.



      Homeless Rights for Justice MCR moved their camp to St Peter’s Square on Monday, after being evicted from a 12 day peaceful protest in Albert Square.

       

      Adam Wheelan, an activist who has been camping with the homeless group, said: “The council have made cuts that directly affect the homeless in Manchester causing hostels to close - despite a massive increase in homelessness. We’ve been handed eviction papers to move again yesterday, and we’re going to court on Friday.”

      Alongside the eviction papers they also received papers detailing land rent charges that the camp will incur if they do not move.

      Over the 12 day protest the camp say they have gained widespread public support, and the group’s Facebook page has gained 1,476 likes since it was created on the 17th April.

      Mr Wheelan said: “Public support has been vital. We’ve had plenty of donations as well as volunteers with local homeless charities providing the camp hot meals.”

      The group say that they are campaigning for small positive steps to be made.



      “We had a meeting with the council on Friday that seemed really successful. But then on Monday they said they weren’t willing to do anything unless we packed away our camp which we are not prepared to do until we see action happening.”

      A spokesperson from Manchester City Council said: "We held an initial meeting with the protesters on Friday, in which they invited us to come back with positive suggestions for how we can work with them. Following this, we have now met them for a second time and told them we will be happy to engage with them over the next few months and seek their input as we create a new strategy for tackling the issue of homelessness in Manchester.

      “However, the group have now told us they no longer want to  engage with us as we take this forward. This is incredibly disappointing,as improving our homelessness service is an incredibly important piece of work which is a major priority for the City Council.”


      John Baines, a homeless man who has been protesting with the camp, said: “Even if they gave me a house tomorrow what’s the point it would only be one less person off the streets and this is a massive issue.”

       

       

      To follow Homeless Rights for Justice MCR on Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/HomelessRoJ

        •