Manchester, England – For the past two years, Stephen has set up home on a bench in Manchester city center, a few Yards from a cash machine in the WHERE HE spends most of the day hoping for loose change from passersby.
On The Opposite Side Of The Road is a bakery WHERE GREGGS staff Provide him with cups of tea and warm food to keep him going.
The 41-year-old from the town of Oldham, Greater Manchester lifeguards The downward spiral he fell into after he was imprisoned for six weeks for not paying his TV license.
Already suffering from mental health issues and instability in his personal life, he emerge from the spell inside without a home to return to.
“When I came out I had nowhere to go and no money to live so I becames the Homeless,” he Tells Al Jazeera.
For Stephen and others like him who are Homeless, Having no fixed address MEANS claims a right they have no way of welfare benefits from the state.
To get housing, he has to Apply to the local council, but demand far outstrips for Social Housing The number of available properties.
According to a report by the Manchester Evening News (MEN) last November, 5,000 people are social housing in the Manchester area and another 10,000 in nearby Salford.
Councils have points based systems in place to prioritise Those most in need, with Families, Victims of Domestic Abuse, and people suffering from illness Taking Precedence.
Priority is also given to Those who can Prove local ties to the area, Such as familial relations or being in a relationship with a local resident, neither of Which Apply to Stephen.
As a single male with a criminal conviction and no local connection, he says he is at the back of the queue, and as a result has no choice but to live a whatever support The Public Can Provide.
“There’s no one out there to help us really. I just want my Basic Benefits back and I could sort myself out and get myself back into work,” says Stephen.
“At the moment, I just sit here, hoping people give me some money, buy me some food or some drinks.”
Stephen is overheard by his friend Neil, who sleeps nearby and also becames Homeless two years ago, in his case after a divorce.
“If you’re not from the local area you can basically f *** off,” Neil says.
“I’m not from Manchester, but why should not I live in Manchester?
“We’re here right now, it does not really matter WHERE WE Lived Before, they should be Able to help us.”
The pair is part of a growing population of rough sleepers in the city, Which has grown to at least 78 in the City Proper, According to a report by the MEN in January.
That number is 11 times what it was in 2010 When The Conservative government first took power.
The same report put the number of rough sleepers in the Greater Manchester area at 139th nationally, around 4,000 people are Believed to Have Slept in the rough in 2016.
The EXTENT to the Homeless Which Have Become an intrinsic part of Manchester’s cityscape was displayed in the aftermath of last week’s bomb attack on an Ariana Grande Concert, Which left 22 people dead.
DYING ON THE STREETS: The UK’s Homeless
One Story That Emerge was of a Homeless Man, Chris Parker, who was near the site of the explosion and rushed to treat the injured, pulling nails from wounds.
Parker’s actions were hailed as heroic and with the praise came offers of free rent and financial help to get him off the streets.
The response to the attack Placed Renewed focus on the City’s Homeless, but Stephen and Neil have little hope that it will translate into positive long-term change.
With the general election Fast Approaching, both men have registered to vote in a local library, but it is little hope of change in any party.
“Once they’re elected they got all the stuff they’re going to do they turn on their backs are,” Stephen says.
Nevertheless, he reserves Stronger condemnation for the Tories.
“I want the Tories [Conservatives are] out more than anything.”
As part of its welfare reform, the government has cut housing benefit payments to people under the age of 21, and an Insufficient number of homes built under its rule has sent Soaring rents, helping Leave More than 43,000 families since Homeless in 2012.
READ MORE: More than a million live in ‘extreme poverty’ in the UK
The opposition Labor Party, Which almost completely dominated Manchester City Council with 94 of the 96 Councilor, has also faced criticism for not doing enough to help rough sleepers and the Homeless.
In 2015, the council was Involved in a ‘cat and mouse’ with Homeless Episode protesters who set up camp at one spot in the city center, only to move to another When evicted.
The protesters, who accused the local authority of not helping them find shelter Suitable, were eventually threatened with fines of up to 1,000GBP ($ 1,285) each if they Continued To set up camp in the area.
That move led to Widespread condemnation of the council, with 70,000 That more people signing a petition against its action.