4He opens the door, waits for me to proceed and then stammers in my lead. He only asks for the cheapest pizza not wanting to spend too much of my money. I observe dirty glares from people behind us who realise they are within two feet of a homeless person. I see them slowly forming silent judgements. I wonder what makes these people feel so safe from a fate like this?

He told me he would give me what I asked, but only that he was hungry. And went on to say he’d not eaten since the day before.

Young Liam has been homeless for ten years. He was denied access to his daughter after he became homeless. His coping mechanism is drugs. A habit which came from losing his daughter and seeing the death of his friends due to bad weather and hunger. I understand his reason for this solace now.

Amanda tells me of her abusive husband. The reason she has been sleeping under a bridge on Oxford Road for twelve months. She lifts up her face and smiles to the camera, her sorrow reflects deeply in her eyes. I look through the camera lens and feel her smile as an uplifting motion for herself, and the only thing that stops me from being in her position is our very different yet interchangeable fates.

These are two brief descriptions of the many homeless people I encountered today in Manchester. While researching this topic online I had a sudden urge to look beyond the written facts on countless web pages and get to the source. How did you become homeless? How long have you been homeless? You can gather all written facts and converted statistics, but the personality of these people doesn’t appear through sophisticated graphs. Their struggles and life stories ignored.

As I approached them, they had a welcoming and friendly manner. A characteristic which is often scarce in rich professionals. Their stories were diverse, and sometimes painful to hear. Beyond the repute that comes with homelessness, sometimes it is the harsh effects of living on the streets for so long which has such hammering psychological consequences on these people that it pushes them towards different coping methods.

I inform them that I’d like to raise awareness through visual media. They wilfully agreed. I knew they were happy for me to just accompany them for a short while.

Homelessness is one of the fastest-growing and most ignored problem in Manchester. Every year there is a painstaking amount of increase in numbers of rough-sleepers with very little being done about it. There are only very few charities who have a hand in making sure people are being taken of the street and given shelter, but due to the amount of rough-sleepers, some charities say they are running out of resources and expenses  feasible enough to offer any help.

After writing the above piece, I researched deeper into some of the causes of homelessness and found that there is not only an increase in the amount of people who are being left out on the street, but families too.

These are families who are not able to pay the rent due to benefit cuts by the government. This has affected their ability to afford basic needs such as food, water and most importantly, shelter. What is more concerning is that the government has failed to build a sufficient amount of council houses to keep up with the demand. Where will these people end up? And how can this problem be solved?

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