Greater Manchester is working up plans to extend its ground-breaking Housing First programme to more than 450 places as it intensifies efforts to tackle homelessness.
- Plans being developed to extend Housing First programme to provide places for more than 450 people
- New business network launched
New funding of at least £7 million covering the next three years has been secured to help people across Greater Manchester, bringing the total investment in the city-region to approximately £9 million.
In a separate development, a new business network is being launched which will make it easier for Greater Manchester businesses to contribute to the growing city-wide campaign to end rough-sleeping.
This next phase of help for homeless people across the city-region follows:
- £1.8m Social Impact Bond granted to help entrenched rough sleepers, with 50 currently in the process and another 200 referred for help
- More than £135,000 raised for the Mayor’s Homelessness Fund, which has helped fund a wide variety of projects which help homeless people, such as the opening of a new shelter in Cheetham Hill
- More than 500 people registered with their GPs to access vital medical support
- A new cold weather plan which sees emergency support given as soon as temperatures hit freezing in a national first
- 1,000 emergency beds available and used as part of the cold weather plan
Andy Burnham, Mayor of Greater Manchester, said: “We have made a start to helping those who need it most, but these new places will enable us to deal with the scale of this growing problem.”
Figures released today show an increase in the number of people living on our streets nationally has risen by 15%. In Greater Manchester, the number of people living homeless has increased 42%.
Andy continued: “These new figures show that Manchester, like all cities, is facing a growing challenge. But while the figures are getting worse, our response is getting better.
“Greater Manchester is pulling together and the fact that our businesses are joining the fight will help us go up a gear. Nowhere else are public, private, voluntary and faith organisations pulling together in this way to tackle one such an important issue.”
The new chair of the Business Network is Tim Heatley, co-owner of Manchester-based property developers Capital&Centric.
Tim said: “Manchester is a global city with community spirit, we’ve proved that we come together when needed the most. Yet, despite efforts, so many of Manchester’s vulnerable people are still sleeping on our city’s streets. While it weighs heavy on our collective conscience that we’ve got to this point, it’s brilliant to see so many organisations – led by the Mayor – pulling together to help.
“The public sector and charities are leading the charge, but Manchester’s private sector will play a pivotal role too. Our business leaders have had the creativity, determination and ingenuity to put Manchester’s industries on the world stage. Hopefully they can apply these talents to, together, transforming the lives of our people without homes. It’s a big ask, but one I’m sure we’re capable of.”
Greater Manchester Combined Authority lead for housing, planning and homelessness, Salford City Mayor Paul Dennett said: “£7million in new funding from government is a welcome contribution, but we need to keep a sense of perspective on the government's contribution to Greater Manchester's homelessness problem.
“Many local councils across Greater Manchester will likely be cutting £7million or more worth of services from their budgets this year. In Salford we have lost £186m from our budget since 2010, with a further £11.2 million to cut this year with more government cuts to local council budgets planned for future years.
“The current epidemic of homelessness and rough sleeping across Britain has been created by a precarious labour market and vicious cuts to benefits payments in the middle of an economic crisis - when people are already struggling to make-ends-meet. Austerity and government cuts to local councils has further entrenched the problem, which has also been exacerbated by the failure of planning and housing policy to build truly affordable homes.
“The £7million is a welcome lifeline - but not one that we should have needed in one of the richest nations in the world.”
Andy, along with Deputy Mayor for Policing and Crime Bev Hughes, visited Centrepoint Manchester today (January 25) to see the work being done to help people who are homeless, especially young people.
Bev said: “Too many people are released from prison homeless. We know that having a home to go to helps to reduce offending behaviour and that is why we are committed to working together with our criminal justice partners to make sure that offenders are offered the right support at the right time.”
Balbir Chatrik, Director of Policy and Communications at Centrepoint, added: “These figures are shocking, but they only attempt to count the number of people sleeping rough on one night. We know there are thousands more young people who are hidden homeless – sofa-surfing for months on end, sleeping on public transport, or staying with strangers just to find a bed for the night.
“If the government is serious about breaking the cycle of homelessness it must start by measuring the problem properly and then providing adequate funding to solve it.”
To make a donation or find out more about the Mayor’s Homelessness Fund, visit: https://www.gofundme.com/GM-Mayoral-Fund