We are outraged and heartbroken by the news that another homeless person has died in Manchester city centre on Sunday morning December 3rd 2023. He was found in a shop doorway on Bloom Street, one of the busiest and most affluent areas of the city. He was one of the many people who have been sleeping rough in the freezing cold, as the UK faces a snow and ice warning.
This is a disgrace and a scandal. This is a direct consequence of the government's policies that have created and exacerbated the homelessness crisis in the UK. These policies include cutting funding for homelessness services, criminalising rough sleeping, and ejecting migrants who have nowhere else to go. These policies are not only immoral and unjust, but also illegal under international human rights law.
That is why we launched the campaign "Keep Your Coins - We Want Change" back in 2015. This campaign was led by homeless people themselves, who are the experts of their own situation. They have the right to speak out and be heard. They have the right to demand dignity and justice. They have the right to challenge the system that oppresses and excludes them.
It is ironic that a temporary structure with a roof has been built in the city this week for Chanel’s “street scene” fashion show, to protect supermodels, musicians and film stars from the weather, while people without shelter are sleeping and sometimes dying in nearby doorways.
We are not asking for charity or pity. We are asking for change. We are also asking for the public to join us in our campaign, and to show solidarity and compassion to homeless people. We are asking you to listen to their stories, respect their choices, and support their demands. We are asking you to stand with us in our struggle for human rights.
Homelessness is not a crime, nor a choice, nor a fate and most certainly not a lifestyle choice. It is a social problem that can and must be solved. Together, we can make a difference. Together, we can end homelessness.
Welcome to Cassandra who never gives up, a blog page where we share our reflections on the news stories that are consequences of the policies that we and many others have campaigned about. We are Cassandra, a group of human rights activists who work for RAPAR (Refugee and Asylum Participatory Action Research), a community organisation that supports and empowers people who are at risk of having their human rights violated.