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Ending rough sleeping by 2020 - new Mayor puts words into action

08/05/2017

Ending rough sleeping by 2020 is one of the Mayor of Greater Manchester’s top priorities and Andy Burnham is taking immediate action to tackle the issue today.

Ending rough sleeping by 2020 is one of the Mayor of Greater Manchester’s top priorities and Andy Burnham is taking immediate action to tackle the issue today.

As his first act, the Greater Manchester Mayor’s Homelessness Fund was launched this morning and Andy has donated 15 per cent of his salary to kick start the fund. A number of local businesspeople have also agreed to contribute and local people are also already supporting the fund.  Donations to the fund can be made here - www.gofundme.com/gm-mayoral-fund.

Update: To apply for funding please read the information on this page.

This innovative approach to ending rough sleeping is part of the Mayor's efforts to change the way politics works from day one.  He is inviting everyone in Greater Manchester, and beyond, to work with him to help solve the issues that affect the entire city region.

Andy launched the Mayor’s Homelessness Fund after meeting people who sleep rough in Manchester City Centre early today (Monday May 8).  He was joined by staff from Riverside Street Outreach team, including a volunteer who has lived experience of homelessness. Cllr Beth Knowles, appointed by the Mayor to lead his work on tackling rough sleeping and homelessness, and Cllr Bernard Priest, Manchester City Council Executive member for Housing & Regeneration, joined the Mayor.

Greater Manchester Mayor, Andy Burnham said:

“Greater Manchester has been fortunate enough to witness some of the fastest economic growth nationally over the past decade, but alongside this we have seen a growing inequality which damages us all.

“Whilst the city centre's skyline is filled with cranes, our streets should not be crowded with people who have no roof over their head. Rough sleeping and homelessness are not inevitable consequences of a 21st Century economy. We all have a duty to ensure no one is forced to spend a night on the streets and every Greater Mancunian has a stable place to call home. 

“That is why I have made ending rough sleeping across the city region by 2020 one of my top Mayoral priorities. Within three years, and if we can achieve it earlier, no one should be forced to spend a night on the streets. I will also work with all relevant organisations to develop a plan to reduce all forms of homelessness in Greater Manchester.”

Cllr Beth Knowles, appointed by the Mayor to lead his work on tackling rough sleeping and homelessness, said: "The fact that Andy is launching this new homelessness fund on his first day as our Mayor demonstrates his personal commitment to making this a top priority. He tasked me with starting work on bringing the GM Homelessness Action Network together four months ago so we could hit the ground running from day one. This is day one, by listening to people who have experienced homelessness from the beginning we're starting as we mean to go on, developing a plan of action to reduce homelessness alongside councils, charities and crucially people who have experienced homelessness."

Mooch, a volunteer Riverside Street Buddy who has lived experience of homelessness and joined the Mayor on Monday morning said: "I don't think for one minute Andy is anything but committed. Do I believe he wants to help? Yes I do, he's been to meetings with our charities, and he’s been to meetings within our Manchester Homelessness Charter. He has never said what we need, he's asked what we need to achieve. Will I help him? Of course I will.”

The Greater Manchester Mayor’s Homelessness Fund will support frontline projects which can demonstrate they are supporting the Mayor’s objective to end rough sleeping and reduce homelessness.

The Mayor's Fund will operate as a Community Foundation, an independent charity which disseminates funds to local organisations through a grant process. In the interim period while the Community Foundation is created, the fund will be available on gofundme, facilitated by Crisis, the national charity for homeless people, and transferred in full to the Mayor's Homelessness Fund on completion of the process.

Some examples of the type of services the fund will look to support are:

  • Building specialised supported accommodation for young people with access to education, volunteering and employment opportunities.
  • Expanding mental health and rehabilitation programmes across Greater Manchester, including re-building community mental health support, recovery-led accommodation and arts programmes.
  • Bringing empty properties back in to use for people threatened with becoming homeless.

Innovative approaches and decisions about funding priorities will be continue to be developed through the Greater Manchester Homelessness Action Network which the Mayor is creating alongside the Mayor’s Homelessness Fund. This network will consist of charities, people who have experienced homelessness, businesses, faith groups, civil society and the region's local authorities, to share best practice, develop new solutions and progress in the same direction to tackle homelessness across Greater Manchester.

The Mayor and the Greater Manchester Homelessness Action Network are inviting citizens, businesspeople, community organisations to help by donating a proportion of their salary, a one off amount or goods such as furniture (as required by local organisations). They are also keen to hear from people who can donate unused building space or organisations which have skills and expertise they wish to offer.

Greater Manchester Homelessness Action Network can be contacted at GMHAN@greatermanchester-ca.gov.uk