After allowing a group of 30 homeless squatters stay over winters in the Manchester Stock Exchange he owns with Ryan Giggs, former Manchester United star Gary Neville is now paying for showers, toilets and hot meals to make the space habitable for the needy.
On Facebook, the group, who have renamed the building ‘The Sock Exchange’ because clothing is available for the homeless, wrote:
In a later post, they added: “He’s paying for electricians; plumbers; builders and other tradesmen to come and install temporary shower units; bathrooms; toilets; lighting etc so that the building is habitable over the winter period.”
Another post on October 22 heaped praise on Gary’s brother-in-law for “all he is doing to make this work”.
Planning permission to turn the old Stock Exchange into a 35-bedroom luxury hotel was granted earlier this year. The building, which Gary & Ryan bought for £1.5million, will house a gym, spa, roof terrace for members, and a ground floor restaurant. Because construction isn’t set to begin until February, a homeless advocacy group called the Manchester Angels, who led the squatters to first occupy the uninhabited building, will utilize the space to create a temporary safe haven for homeless people to escape the frigid weather.
“I don’t think Gary realizes what he has done – he is going to save hundreds of lives this winter. He’s such a down to earth guy. He just wants to help people and this is absolutely wonderful. I know he’s been helping the homeless community in Manchester for the past 10 years but this will allow us to really enable the community to make this into a hub,” Wes Hall, a human rights and leader of the Manchester Angels, told CNN .
I’m crying… Just go off the phone to Gary Neville… He’s letting us stay for a few months over the winter… http://t.co/q7ZRHqMADo
— Wesley Hall (@ukstreetangels) October 18, 2015
The activists will be documenting their care of the building, with the intention to leave it in better condition than when they arrived.
According to Crisis, a homeless charity, 280,000 people in England sought assistance from councils last year, while 7,581 slept on the streets of London – an increase of 16% on the previous year. Figures released by the Empty Homes Agency stated that there are currently 610,000 empty homes across the country.
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