Manchester stock exchange.
A hotel in Manchester, England, has welcomed its first guests: the homeless. When about 30 homeless activists began squatting in a the historic Manchester stock exchange building, they expected to be met with objections. But the building owners, former Manchester United soccer players Gary Neville and Ryan Giggs, had other plans.
The $2 million building will be renovated in the spring to create a boutique hotel, complete with a basement gym, spa, and rooftop private members’ terrace. Until then, Neville and Griggs are giving the activists from Manchester Angels shelter from the coldest months of winter. The group plans to bring in recovery programs, health care, food, and clothing to those keeping warm in the Sock Exchange, as the building is now called.
Neville gave Wesley Hall, a housing and human rights activist leading the homeless advocacy group, consent to use the space for the winter. The soccer star’s only condition was that contractors and workers be able to get access to the building as needed.
“I even suggested to Gary that he might be interested in employing some of the homeless people who are living here as laborers to help with the redevelopment work on the hotel,” Hall told the Guardian.
Renovations begin in February, but until then Hall and the Manchester Angels intend to clean up the historic space and leave it in better shape than they found it.