A PIONEERING scheme enabling homeless people to exercise their right to vote is gaining ground in Manchester, the Star can reveal.
Salford Unemployed and Community Resource Centre decided to take action to tackle the problem that people must have an address to register to vote.
The centre has reached an agreement with council election officials that homeless people can use its address to register and then get a postal vote.
Homeless people who go to the centre’s breakfast club have already signed up.
And centre manager Alec McFadden said other organisations in Greater Manchester — including Narrowgate Night Shelter, Project 34 homeless centre, Walsall YMCA and the Booth Centre — are rolling the scheme out.
“It is only fair that homeless people should be allowed to vote,” he said.
“We are allowing all homeless people in Salford to use the address of the centre and we have printed registration forms.
“Once they are registered then they can apply for a postal vote.
“Our hope is that this will spread across the whole of the UK. And it should make all political parties give serious thoughts to their policy on housing and homelessness.”
Mr McFadden said that student volunteers from Salford University were going out onto the streets contacting homeless people to invite them to register to vote, and to help them fill in the forms.
A Homelessness Monitor run by charity Crisis said that local authorities took action in 271,000 cases of homelessness in England last year, a rise of 32 per cent since 2009-10.
And official stats show that over 4,000 people now sleep rough on any given night.
The deadline to register for the June 8 general election is May 22.