Read Andy's first monthly update on Greater Manchester's drive to tackle rough-sleeping.
Ending the need for rough-sleeping in Greater Manchester is my top personal priority as Mayor. Over the last year, working with colleagues across the public, private, voluntary and faith sectors, we have begun to build a GM-wide movement to make this goal a reality. I am so grateful to everyone who has answered the call and got involved.
Real progress is now being made but I realise that it is behind-the-scenes and not always visible to the public. So, starting from today, I will publish a monthly update on our drive to tackle rough-sleeping to coincide with my donation to the Mayor’s Homelessness Fund. The Fund has already made a number of awards to charities working across Greater Manchester. If you are able to help, you can donate here.
I hope you find this update helpful. Thanks for taking the time to read it and for your interest in what we are trying to do.
Earlier this month, Greater Manchester received confirmation from the Government that it will receive £8 million over the next three years to pilot a ‘Housing First’ approach to tackling homelessness. In essence, this means providing people with a home plus added personal support to turn their lives around.
We are now working to develop a distinctive GM Housing First programme that will involve 500 homes for people with complex needs, including rough sleepers. We expect the project to be on the ground by the end of October. On 10 May, we met potential providers at the Mechanics’ Institute in Manchester.
Social Impact Bond
In advance of Housing First, another similar programme is already up and running.
The Social Impact Bond - or SIB - is a £1.8m programme to assist the most entrenched rough sleepers across Greater Manchester. Since it was introduced in December, 54 people have been housed in secure accommodation and nearly 400 have been referred into the programme. The SIB is now working to house more of the individuals who have been referred.
Street Support Network
The Street Support Network is an online information hub for people who are homeless across all 10 Greater Manchester boroughs. It was one of the first beneficiaries of the Mayor’s Homelessness Fund.
People should use it as the key point of reference to find services available, and also to find the best way to help. We are working SSN to expand the amount of information available so it covers the whole of Greater Manchester.
Homelessness Action Network
The Homelessness Action Network (HAN) is the wider forum which convenes all the stakeholders who are committed to our drive to tackle rough-sleeping and homelessness. It provides a space where people can come together to share ideas, commitments and resources. Its aim is to avoid duplication and competition and build a collaborative GM-wide system.
The HAN has now met in full twice and has developed a three/year strategy to end the need for rough sleeping across the city-region by 2020. It will be taken to its next stage by a meeting of its Representative Accountability Board next month.
Homelessness Business Network
We have now established a Business Network, as part of the HAN, to coordinate the private sector response to tackling homelessness. It is chaired by Tim Heatley, Chief Executive of Capita & Centric. If you are a business in Greater Manchester which wants to get involved in any way, please contact us via email@example.com and we will put you in touch with Tim.
Homelessness Reduction Act
Implemented from 3 April, the Homelessness Reduction Act provides new safeguards for primarily single homeless people, including a new duty on public bodies to prevent homelessness.
Here in Greater Manchester we are working jointly to ensure the Act is applied consistently and fairly. We will conduct a review of the impact of the Act after the first six months in October this year to establish if the additional assistance to single homeless people is being provided.
Manchester, Salford, Tameside and Wigan will receive targeted investment from a £30 million government fund targeting rough sleeping. Manchester City Council is working to deliver a new commitment to provide a bed to all rough-sleepers every night of the week.
Housing as a human right in UK law
While I am confident that we can end the need for rough-sleeping in Greater Manchester by 2020, I believe our commitment at GM level needs to be matched by a new determination to tackle this scandal at a national level. In this day and age, we should be meeting the basic needs of every human being by providing them with a safe, affordable home. That is why I have called on the three main Party leaders to make this a right in UK law, like health or education.