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Mayor's blog - how Greater Manchester is tackling homelessness

26/06/2018

Read Andy's June update on Greater Manchester's drive to tackle rough-sleeping.

This is the second of a new monthly update on work ongoing across Greater Manchester to tackle rough-sleeping, a key priority for me as Mayor. Last month's can be viewed here.

I am proud of the work we are doing and the way in which people are pulling together through our GM Homelessness Action Network. We still face a major challenge but over the last year a lot has been done to deal with some of the immediate issues we faced.

I realise that it has taken us a while to get to this point but I can now say with confidence that the big policy response is beginning to getting underway in earnest. We are beginning to see the emergence of a real solution in the form of our Social Impact Bond and Housing First approach, as you can see below. As it rolls out, I hope people will really begin to see the difference across our city-region.

Thanks for your continued interest and support in this vital issue.

Best wishes,

Andy

Housing First

In May, the Government pledged £8 million for a project called Housing First, which will enable us to free up 500 homes in the city-region for people with complex needs, including rough sleepers.

We have already met potential providers – we plan to put contracts out to tender by the end of the month. Our plan to have Housing First on the ground and making a difference by the autumn. We anticipate that the first people who will need to access the service will be being assisted, re-housed and supported by early-November.

All boroughs in Greater Manchester will benefit and we expect roughly 500 people to be supported through the programme’s initial three-year period.

Our programme is of national importance – we are one of only three places in the country to have a Housing First deal. We need to demonstrate we can make a success of Housing First in Greater Manchester and we want to use what we learn to form a central plank of how our city-region tackles homelessness going forward.

Social Impact Bond

The Social Impact Bond (SIB) is a £1.8m programme to assist the most entrenched rough-sleepers across Greater Manchester. 

We have had more than 500 people referred into the programme, with over 60 having secured accommodation. The drop-out rate has been extremely low, which means more people using the SIB are sticking with it and benefitting from the services provided.

The success of the scheme has been so immediate that in fact it is over-subscribed and we have had to put a temporary pause on referrals. We’re now liaising with Government and other sources with a view to finding more funding to extend the programme.

Building links with other cities

Earlier this month, I met the Deputy Mayor of Paris to discuss our cities’ respective responses to homelessness and rough-sleeping. Homelessness is a global humanitarian crisis. We will only solve it if we work with cities around the work and learn from them about what works best as well as share our own experiences.

Earlier this year, Paris undertook their first ever census of rough-sleepers and found that the scale of the problem was vast, with thousands of people sleeping on the streets every night. They place great emphasis on daytime provision, as well as overnight shelter. This gives people who are accommodated in shelters overnight somewhere to go in the daytime to get access to services and support. 

Learning from this, I would like to see if we could extend daytime provision in GM. Some of our 2017 winter provision also included an element of daytime provision, and it appears very successful. As we look to increase the number of bed spaces and services available we want to make daytime provision a serious part of our offer.

Cold weather provision

We have begun a review of how we delivered services over last winter here in Greater Manchester. We want to take what we learn to start our planning for the coming cold months.

This work is new and important, and we’re working closely with all our local authorities to establish what went well and what we can all improve when the winter hits later in 2018.

This review will be concluded by the mid-July and will enable us to do the things that made a real difference even better next time.

Homelessness Action Network

The Homelessness Action Network (HAN) is a forum where stakeholders and people who are committed to tackling rough-sleeping and homelessness can come together to share ideas, commitments and resources.

The Network’s new Accountability Board met for the first time on 12 June; the 15 attendees convened at Churchgate House in Manchester city centre, with the meeting chaired by Paul Dennett, Salford City Mayor and portfolio holder for housing, planning and homelessness. 

The Board focused on how best to monitor and deliver our agreed strategy to end the need for rough sleeping by 2020, in particular how we can ensure that all sectors – public, private, voluntary and business – and all parts of our city-region can play a meaningful and valued role.

Council funding

Manchester, Salford, Tameside and Wigan will each receive targeted investment from a £30 million Government fund targeting rough-sleeping. During the past month the specific allocations were announced:

  • Manchester: £418,000

  • Tameside: £309,115

  • Wigan: £340,688

  • Salford: £308,642

An action plan is being developed in each of the four boroughs to target services and address rough sleeping as quickly as possible. These will include improved local co-ordination of services and street outreach teams.

National rough sleeper strategy

This is a central Government strategy targeting rough sleeping in England, and is the first such nationwide strategy of its type. Greater Manchester continues to participate on the National Advisory Panel, and over 70 recommendations have been submitted to the Government on measures targeting rough sleeping. The Government is now considering submissions, selecting which ones they will include in a strategy to be published next month.

As Mayor, I will look at the Government’s final recommendations extremely closely and where we can implement them in Greater Manchester we will. Our aim is to do more. The Government’s target is to halve rough sleeping by 2022 – we think this is lacking in ambition andunacceptable and it makes our 2020 target even more important.

Other News

On 30 May, I took part in a charity football match between the Greater Manchester Mayor’s XI and the Liverpool City-Region Mayor’s XI – the latter captained by my counterpart in Merseyside, Steve Rotheram.

I’ll gloss over the scoreline (we lost) and the individual who missed a sitter in the first half (me), and instead point you to the great news that we raised much-needed funds to tackle rough sleeping in both city regions. Thanks to everyone who came down to support it. We aim to make it an annual fixture and I promise you all to do better next year!

Finally, this is a fascinating and very moving article in the San Francisco Chronicle, which identified the long-term challenge homelessness and rough sleeping has posed to those people living and working in the Californian city. As I saw in Paris, this article really demonstrates how homelessness is a global problem – one that cities across the world are struggling to find answers to.