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Manchester homeless centre reopens after makeover

MCC Joanna Midgely unveils plaque at reopened Justlife centre

A centre to support people experiencing homelessness has reopened its doors after extensive renovation works.

The Justlife centre, in the Openshaw area of Manchester, has supported homeless people in need of safe spaces for over a decade. The charity Justlife (based in Brighton and Manchester) teamed up with independent design studio KKS Savills for the refurbishment of the centre, who led the redevelopment and offered their expertise free of charge.

The refurbished centre is designed to meet the growing demand for the charity’s support during a worsening cost of living crisis, by providing a flexible, multi-purpose space from which a range of services can be delivered to help people address mental health needs, build life skills, and ultimately move on from homelessness.

Justlife specifically supports homeless people who are staying in unsupported temporary accommodation, who are often left out of official homelessness statistics and fall through the cracks, unable to access state support.

Dean*, a TA resident who accesses Justlife’s services, said

“They’ve listened, they’ve been there, and no matter when I’ve phoned up or what questions I’ve asked, they’ve always responded and sorted things out for me straight away, which I could never sort out for myself.”

TA residents will be able to make appointments at the centre, and receive support to apply for social housing, overcome rent arrears, manage their bills, and understand their rights and entitlements.

The improved space can also now accommodate small group activities to combat loneliness and improve confidence and self-esteem. Additionally, private 1-1 appointments with Specialist Support Workers are available for people who may be uncomfortable about engaging with bigger groups.

Ruth Cox, Operations Manager for Justlife’s Manchester work, said

“The new space is almost unrecognisable. We are thrilled to finally be able to provide our people with a safe, well-designed, welcoming environment where they can access support, and enjoy activities in our garden area.

We expect that demand for homelessness services will continue to rise during this cost of living crisis, but we’ll continue to be there for people during this really challenging time. Our centre is central to this work.”