Social Issues

Man Utd legend tackling homelessness with Covid-safe pods

By Clàudia Sacrest

Stoke-on-Trent (UK), Mar 5 (efe-epa).- Dignified housing pods set up in a large industrial warehouse in the English city of Stoke-on-Trent offer homeless people an opportunity to take the first step away from life on the street.

Former Manchester United legend and Scotland international Lou Macari founded the initiative four years ago but has recently had to adapt the shelter to meet Covid-19 health standards.

Having initially offered a large shared space, the Macari Centre now comprises rows of self-contained housing pods, each one complete with a bed, furniture, heating, electricity and a number on the door, a small detail that can make a big difference.

“Having their own little number on the pod is a big help,” Macari tells Efe. “It gives them, for the first time in their life probably, a property with a number, which helps when they go looking for a job and you’re always asked what your address is, and before they had no address.”

The residents who sat down to chat with Efe praised the center.

“You might have to leave the pod for the toilet, but at the end of the day we don’t have to pay anything (…) so it’s good,” Charlie Railton, 24, tells Efe.

Terry Becket, 34, says it is offering him some stability.

“I have my own space, I seem to think more when I’m in the pod, I seem to do more things for myself, I buy bits and pieces like food for myself.”

The Macari Centre covers all basic needs, including meals, although getting to the root of homelessness, with its myriad factors from economic problems to addiction, is no easy task.

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