The Mayor of Greater Manchester’s Homelessness Fund today (Tuesday 13 June) added its weight to the region’s recovery push by announcing it is open for business and encouraging applications for funds.
Andy Burnham, who pledged to eradicate rough sleeping by 2020, launched the fund on his first day in office by adding 15 per cent of his own salary into the pot.
And just five weeks later the amount raised to tackle the issue has topped £50,000 thanks to the generosity of people from across Greater Manchester, Andy’s salary and pledges from each of the 27 housing providers operating across the area.
Now Andy is looking for community and voluntary organisations – any group established to help homeless people – to apply for money to help tackle the issue.
And to support this he reinvigorated his call for people to donate any money they would spare, but also their time as volunteers, buildings that could help deliver support to the homeless, food, bedding or any goods that might be useful to the cause.
He said: “People across Greater Manchester have shown the world how strong and amazing we are in the past few weeks with millions of pounds raised for the emergency fund following the terror attack.
“But, in amongst that, we haven’t forgotten our homeless people and in particular the rough sleepers on our streets. I am overwhelmed by the generosity but also the strength of feeling that we won’t forget about these people no matter what else we face. We will support them to get their lives back on track and together we are united in that.”
The fund will work with established organisations to provide money for projects designed to make a difference to people living on the streets. It will not compete with anything that already exists to provide support and is aiming to make it as simple as possible for people to apply for money.
Andy added: “There are complimentary charities and funds that provide money to individuals who need support. I am looking to compliment these funds and everyone who is part of the effort to eradicate the problem. We won’t compete, we will simply offer money to organisations who have a credible plan to help and we’ll do this in the most straight forward way so that it is easy to apply and do something to help. I’m hoping we will have applications and be ready to award funds in the next few weeks.”
The fund will in weeks to come become a Community Interest Company (CIC) and awards will be managed through a board of trustees led by the Mayor of Greater Manchester and supported by a team including Ivan Lewis MP, Councillor Beth Knowles and people with lived experience of homelessness.
Andy added: “I have no doubt the fund will continue to grow through the generosity of local people, local businesses and projects such as Tony Walsh’s charity book of his poem ‘This is the Place’ which is to be made into a book to benefit both the emergency and homelessness funds.
“Between us, if we continue to focus on how we can make lives better in Greater Manchester, we can make a difference. I would encourage organisations to apply for funding and do whatever they can to support people to find their own place amongst us.”
To find out more about the criteria to apply for grants from the Mayor of Greater Manchester’s Homelessness Fund and make an application visit www.greatermanchester-ca.gov.uk/homeless-fund-applications or email GMHomelessFund@greatermanchester-ca.gov.uk.
Andy made the announcement at The Brick, a homelessness charity based in Wigan which offers services to people who are homeless, in poverty or facing debt crisis. Find out more at www.thebrick.org.uk