Thousands call for empty Sheffield buildings to be used to house homeless

Christopher Dunlop, whose online petition calls for the city council to open up empty buildings for the homeless

Christopher Dunlop, whose online petition calls for the city council to open up empty buildings for the homeless

4
Have your say

Councillors are to debate using empty buildings in Sheffield as winter shelters for the homeless.

A petition signed by more than 5,600 people has called for the city to follow the lead of former footballers Gary Neville and Ryan Giggs, who have allowed a new hotel they are building in Manchester to be used as a temporary shelter over the winter months.

A debate on the issue will take place at Wednesday’s council meeting, which will take place at the Town Hall from 2pm.

Heeley resident Christopher Dunlop, who started the petition, said in November: “It makes no sense for people to be suffering needlessly from the elements, particularly when it seems like we are in for a harsh winter, when there are so many buildings empty.

“One person said some parts of Park Hill have been sitting empty for years. They’ve failed to regenerate it as they said and a lot of social housing was taken out of the market there while nothing has come to replace it.”

The online petition says it is ‘inexcusable’ and ‘inhumane’ people are sleeping rough in the city when there are buildings lying empty.

Coun Jayne Dunn, council cabinet member for housing, has previously said accommodation is provided during winter for anyone forced to sleep on the street’ and the council was able to meet demand so did not plan to open empty sites

She added: “We are aware of about 12 rough sleepers in Sheffield at the moment.

“We know there are other people who may appear to be sleeping rough, but many have got somewhere to stay and may be involved in activities such as drinking and begging. It’s really important we help all these people and we work with charities, the police and other partners to do so.”