Read Andy's August update on Greater Manchester's drive to tackle homelessness and rough sleeping.
Over the last month, work has been continuing on our commitment to end the need for rough sleeping in Greater Manchester. Last month's blog can be viewed here, while below are the latest developments.
Social Impact Bond funding
Our successful Social Impact Bond (SIB), which is making a real difference to hundreds of people’s lives, has been rewarded with a cash boost from Government, a recognition of its success and on-the-ground impact.
The additional £829,000 funding made national news headlines, another example of Greater Manchester demonstrating how we are doing things differently and leading the way.
The SIB, a £1.8m programme to assist the most entrenched rough sleepers with secure accommodation and ongoing targeted support, launched in December and so far more than 100 people have found secure accommodation in the city-region. The new money will help the roughly 500 people already referred into and retained within the scheme to benefit fully from the support available.
The success of programmes like the SIB lays the foundations for our ground-breaking Housing First pilot. Our hope is that significant numbers of new places – homes plus an individual package of support – will be opening in the early months of 2019.
Mayor’s Homelessness Fund grants
We can now announce the latest grants from the Mayor’s Homelessness Fund, which has been receiving and distributing funding since May 2017. I am delighted to announce that the three latest awards are:
- Justlife Health & Enterprise Centre (£25,000) to support detailed research and analysis on tackling hidden homelessness.
- Streetwise Opera (£10,000) to provide workshops and personal development centred on singing and performance.
- Booth Centre (£6,500), a day centre that offers advice, activities and support to homeless people in Manchester, for food and provisions.
These grants take the total amount of Homelessness Funds awarded to frontline voluntary sector agencies to a significant £96,000 to date. The current Fund total stands at just over £120,500 and I thank you all for your generosity.
A Bed Every Night
As I announced in last month’s blog, we are developing a plan for enhanced winter provision in Greater Manchester.
We are aiming to provide a bed for every rough sleeper every night of the week. This is a major commitment and will be a real challenge to deliver. But it is the right goal to be setting at this stage of our journey towards ending the need for rough sleeping.
If we can make it work, A Bed Every Night would be a partnership with our 10 councils, businesses, the voluntary sector and the public. This will be a massive undertaking and one never tried before on this scale in this country. However, I believe it is the right thing to do and I will work hard to make it happen.
Part of Pride
This weekend we mark Manchester Pride, a fantastic celebration of the progress made to build a fair and equal society for all LGBT people. But it’s also a time to reflect and take action on the real inequality that still exists in our country.
Homeless levels amongst LGBT young people are too high. The Albert Kennedy Trust, a charity founded in Manchester which supports LGBT young people, has highlighted that LGBT young people are hugely over-represented in the homeless population.
I am pleased that AKT’s Director of Services Annie Emery has joined the new Greater Manchester LGBT Advisory Panel as her insight will be vital to see how we can support this group.
National Rough Sleeping Strategy
Our response to homelessness and rough sleeping in Greater Manchester has improved dramatically in recent months. We have led the way in co-ordinating efforts across the public, private and third sectors, responding proactively to a problem that needs an urgent solution.
This past month, the national conversation finally caught up.
The Government has unveiled its £100m strategy to tackle rough sleeping on England’s streets. The powers-that-be at Westminster have said their Rough Sleeping Strategy includes a commitment to end rough sleeping by 2027.
It does not go far enough. We contributed to the drafting of the Strategy, and while I welcome some of the proposals, it’s clear to me that the funding announced is insufficient. Added to that, the timescale fails to adequately meet what is an emergency situation.
In Greater Manchester, I have pledged to end the need for rough sleeping by 2020, a full seven years ahead of the national target. That’s because I recognise the need for speed in this area. We are taking huge strides but of course we’re in this with our eyes wide open – there is so much more still to do.
Beautiful gesture from the beautiful game
The Mayor’s Homelessness Fund still relies on donations from businesses and individuals who want to help make a real difference. That’s why I was delighted to learn that, on the Monday Night Football show on Sky Sports, former Manchester United and England defender Gary Neville pledged to wear a Liverpool shirt (oh the ignominy!) then have it auctioned for the Fund.
In the interests of accuracy, fellow pundit and former Liverpool and England defender Jamie Carragher wore a United top and pledged monies raised to Fans Supporting Foodbanks, a unique partnership between Everton and Liverpool’s supporters' trusts coming together to tackle the foodbank shortages on Merseyside.
It leaves me with one clear thought – if we can get Gary Neville wearing a Liverpool shirt then who knows what else we can achieve? There should be no limit to our ambition.
Thanks to Gary for his support and to you all. We are making a real difference.
Each month, Andy blogs on all the latest updates on the ongoing movement across Greater Manchester to tackle rough sleeping, a key priority for the Mayor. Last month's can be viewed here.
Individuals and businesses can make a difference by donating to the Mayor’s Homelessness Fund via www.homelessfund.co.uk.