Urgent appeal for items after warehouse is broken into

Efforts to support Greater Manchester's most vulnerable people have been dealt a huge setback after thousands of items were stolen from a warehouse.

As the Covid-19 crisis continues and demand grows even further, local charities and authorities have issued an urgent appeal for help following the break-in. 

Frontline charities and local authorities working with the Greater Manchester Homelessness Action Network, (GMHAN), Greater Manchester Mayor's Charity and Manchester Homelessness Partnership are calling on individuals and businesses across the region to dig a little deeper and help support those who are in lockdown without a home, friends or family during the pandemic. 

The organisations have been coordinating the COVID-19 emergency supplies depot, set up by CAPITAL&CENTRIC and Kamani Property in Manchester's New Cross, which was broken into and thousands of items stolen earlier this month. 

After seeing the demand for services double since the start of the lockdown - and now the huge setback following the break-in - the Greater Manchester Homelessness Action Network and Greater Manchester Mayor's Charity are seeking continued support from the community. 

GMHAN, a partnership between the region’s homelessness sector, including charities and local authorities, has coordinated support to people who are homeless by supplying over 3,000 meals and 1,000 essential product packages each week, including essential hygiene and clothing items - the majority of which were stolen during the raid on the depot. 

Following the government's advice for the British public to stay safe and stay alert, GMHAN recognised the need to support people who don’t have a stable home during the nationwide lockdown. 

Working with people who are, or have been homeless, GMHAN has developed its Live Needs List - a list of essential items that will help to keep people in Greater Manchester safe.

Hygiene products such as deodorant or shampoo and PPE supplies - such as face masks, gloves, hand sanitiser - are most in demand, but people still need non-perishable food, as well as clothing and mobile phones. 

Not only are the frontline charities in the GMHAN network in desperate need of new and second-hand items, but they also welcome monetary donations and voluntary support. 

Urgently needed items include: 

· PPE supplies (face masks, gloves etc.) 

· Non-perishable food (e.g. tins, dried pasta, sugar, coffee/tea) 

· Large quantity of take out containers and disposable cutlery 

· Solo activities for adults and children (books, jigsaws, puzzles, colouring pads and pens) 

· Mobile phones and chargers 

· Ready meals 

· Laundry powder 

· Gluten-free and vegetarian food 

· Hygiene packs, including; wet wipes, hand sanitizers (60% alcohol if possible), individual packs of tissues, toothbrushes and toothpaste, flannels, shampoo, shower gel, sanitary products, deodorant, hand wash, toilet roll 

CAPITAL&CENTRIC and Kamani Property set up the emergency depot at the start of the outbreak which, with the help of the GMHAN and Greater Manchester Mayor’s Charity, has so far received over 40,000 product donations and support from regional businesses like Vimto, Warburtons, and The Hut Group, and members of the public. 

Unfortunately, thousands of these donations were stolen and it's hoped that individuals and businesses across Greater Manchester will continue to donate crucial supplies to the network of charities, which include The Manna House, Barnabus, the Booth Centre, Mustard Tree, Back on Track, Greater Together Manchester, Cornerstones, MASH, the Mens Room, Back on Track, Red Door, The Wellspring and many more. 

Dee Lowry, warehouse coordinator at GMHAN, said: "All of us are facing unexpected challenges in the wake of the coronavirus crisis. However, for the thousands of people across Greater Manchester who are without a home, the struggle to survive is more serious than ever before. 

"We've been working closely with people in the community, as well as frontline organisations to ensure that we're meeting the needs of people who are homeless. As part of this vital work, we've received an overwhelming demand for the essential items included on our Live Needs List. 

"We have been making great progress with the initiative, but the break in has set us back immensely, and the demand is bigger than ever and only expected to grow due to the economic consequences of Covid-19.  

"We're hoping that the people of Greater Manchester will come together to support people who are homeless through this difficult time." 

GMHAN has also been working with local authorities and the Greater Manchester Combined Authority (GMCA) to source hotels with single bed accommodation for those currently sleeping rough or living in shared sleeping accommodation, to ensure that they can stay safe and maintain social distancing during lockdown. 

With the government continuing to consider the next steps in lifting the lockdown, GMHAN is keen to ensure that people who are experiencing all forms of homelessness aren't forgotten. Working with local authorities and charities, the network is considering how it can support the transition for people as they move out of temporary accommodation and into a maintained supported environment. 

GMHAN's Live Needs List can be found by clicking here, and anyone interested in making a donation should email gm-covid@streetsupport.net.

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