A dedicated team of staff and volunteers, at Cornerstone Day Centre, have put in place emergency accommodation for the increasing number of people facing homelessness and destitution, including the growing population of refugees. Cornerstone has ten emergency ‘Pods’, affectionately referred to as ‘Safe Haven.’ This temporary accommodation provides shelter and safety to those who would otherwise have to sleep rough. Those who benefit from the Safe Haven project, also have access to food, showers and washing facilities, plus all the other vital support services that the Cornerstone Day Centre provides in helping people find more permanent accommodation.
Cornerstone has been providing services within the local community for the last twenty five years. On this anniversary year, Cornerstone proves that they have not become set in their ways; rather they are still expanding and responding to the needs of each person from the community who walks through the centre’s doors each day.
Last winter, Cornerstone ran a pilot scheme. The pilot included three Pods, accommodating up to fourteen people each night. As a pilot scheme, the project was a great success and provided a lifeline to the beneficiaries.
The need to fundraise to support more Safe Haven Pods was quickly realised. In response, Cornerstone held a Big Sleep Out. Over 120 volunteers slept out in solidarity, to support and raise awareness about homelessness in Manchester, and to raise funds for the Safe Havens project. The Big Sleep Out raised £48,000 this year.
Bishop of Salford, John Arnold, said: “I enjoyed the Big Sleep Out at Cornerstone. We slept out for one night and then we got to go home and shower. We recovered from one night sleeping out, whereas the homeless will go onto the next night and then the next night, with little security in their lives. This is an important gesture which has had great success in terms of raising awareness and raising funds for the homeless.”
After a successful pilot scheme and a successful Big Sleep Out, Cornerstone now has plans for 10 Safe Haven Pods, meaning we are able to offer emergency accommodation for up to 20 people each night. We are hoping for all ten Pods to be in place by winter.
People who use the Safe Haven Pods are welcome by a caring and supportive team of people, who are committed to helping them. Our goal is to work closely with other voluntary organisations and Manchester City Council to help people move into their own accommodation, utilising the city wide approach embodied in the Manchester Homelessness Charter.
Angela Shannon, Manager at Cornerstone, said; “There is a desperate need for more accommodation. The Big Sleep Out was a great event and the money raised will make all the difference. We get up to 200 people at the centre on a daily basis; around 20 per cent of those are sleeping rough.”
Safe Haven Pods have become a crucial first stepping stone for people wanting to secure more permanent accommodation. In the near future we hope to be able to provide emergency and temporary accommodation through our Pods and also some property to over 40 people facing a crisis.
Copyright of Manchester Community Central – used with permission