As homeless figures rise, people have been living in caves near Stockport, a Manchester Evening News investigation has revealed.
Needles, dirty clothing, rotting food cans, plastic bags and condom wrappers. These probably aren’t the kind of things you’d choose to sleep between. Nor would you choose to set up camp in a cave, overlooking the not-so-Mediterranean sights of Stockport. But, if you’re homeless and your only way of keeping warm and dry is to live in such conditions, what choice do you have?
A Manchester Evening News investigation has found that homeless people in Stockport have now taken to living in a network of sandstone caves near the town centre. The number of homeless people has risen by 42% in Stockport over the last year alone with other areas in the region not far behind. The rise in numbers of homeless people is pretty shocking, but that people are being driven to live in soiled caves near city centres is shocking.
Many people with nowhere else to go have used Wellspring, a local shelter in Stockport. Over the past year, the number of people seeking help each day has risen from around 70 to 140. Jonathan Billings, the charity’s project manager, told the MEN: “Unfortunately when people are sleeping rough they will come to very dangerous places. I know of people who have fallen into the river. Sometimes kids come down and set fire to their sleeping bags when they’re in them. I don’t think politicians are aware of the problem.”
In a letter to the Stockport Express shown to Planet Ivy, Sue Derbyshire, Councillor Leader from Stockport Council said: “Stockport has an excellent track record of addressing homelessness, and whilst the increase in homeless acceptances is disappointing, we will continue to work to ensure that we maintain one of the lowest rates in the area.”
Image: Nickolas Nikolic via Flickr