Manchester plans to help fight homelessness through a new village made of shipping containers

Manchester-based charity Embassy is creating a new community to combat the growing homelessness problem in the city. Working with developers Peel L&P and CAPITAL&CENTRIC It will provide safe, secure homes for homeless and vulnerable men with in-house start to end support and routes into work. The Embassy Village, will provide up to 40 new permanent modular homes, all of which will be made from repurposed shipping containers, and will be located beneath the railway arches between the Bridgewater Canal and River Irwell in the city centre.

The innovative idea was brought about by husband and wife Sid and Tess Williams who repurposed a luxury tour bus as an emergency shelter and support centre and launched the charity in 2019.
There are growing concerns that the homelessness in the city will rise drastically in spring when COVID-19 Government support measures, such as housing for rough sleepers, come to an end.

When discussing the new Embassy village, Sid Williams said: “This pandemic has only gone to further strain the resources of the poorest in our society and we sadly expect to see homelessness increase. We recently housed a chap who spent seven years going from shelter to shelter ever waiting for his golden ticket to a council flat – it never came. Our approach is to provide rented housing and formally end homelessness from day one. We aim to get people into full-time work and private rental sector housing, rather than council housing and benefits. We interview everyone we assist and what we look for is a willingness to make progress, learn and, where possible, to work. The Village will provide residents with their own front door and teach them the life skills they need to become independent and start contributing to society again. We’re so grateful for the generous support Peel L&P and CAPITAL&CENTRIC have shown us, as well as all the other companies who’ve made this project possible.”

With 5,564 and growing people in Manchester battling with homelessness, the work of Sid and Tess is a fantastic step towards creating a more opportunities for housing individuals as lockdown restrictions are set to ease.

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