Homelessness and rough sleeper support given boost with new spending commitments

  • Greater Manchester Leaders allocate £37.1m in Government grants over five years to tackle rough sleeping and prevent homelessness
  • Accommodation and support services to receive boost through four schemes, including an extension of the Housing First Pilot
  • Funding will ensure the continued expansion of the Rough Sleeper Accommodation Programme, which is helping people like Victoria to access new opportunities and help others

GREATER Manchester Leaders have agreed a series of new funding commitments to support pioneering homelessness and rough sleeper programmes in the city-region.

The funding allocations agreed today (Friday 27 May) will ensure that for the next five years, these key initiatives can continue helping people get back on their feet – including supporting people to use their experiences of sleeping rough to help others (see Victoria’s Story below).

Funding for homelessness and rough sleeping agreed to 2027
At today’s Greater Manchester Combined Authority (GMCA) meeting, Leaders agreed to allocate Government funding for four programmes:

• A total of £16.68m for the Community Accommodation Programme, established last year, providing up to 12 weeks of accommodation and support for people leaving custody without housing. One hundred and thirty-two bed spaces have been made available, ensuring that since March this year more than 93 per cent of people leaving custody were accommodated on the night of release.

• £3.87m for the Rough Sleeper Accommodation Programme, set up in May 2020 in response to the pandemic, to provide homes and support services to people with experience of rough sleeping. A total of 466 housing units and dedicated support contracts have been delivered at both local and regional level since 2020, with a further 60 set to be enabled by this funding.

• An expected total of £9.18m for the Rough Sleeper Initiative, launched in 2018 to help local areas provide tailored services addressing housing, mental health, substance misuse and domestic abuse. This funding will support ongoing outreach efforts, data-driven responses to rough sleeping, and specialist health services.

• An expected £7.39m extension of the Housing First Pilot to 2024, set up in 2019, which recognises the importance of housing as a fundamental resource and vital to helping people get back on their feet. One of three national pilots, Greater Manchester’s Housing First scheme has supported more than 325 tenancies for people with entrenched experiences of rough sleeping, with an 85 per cent retention rate over three years.

Today’s announcement follows the approval of a new funding package to support A Bed Every Night with £5.85m through to 2025, agreed by Leaders in March.

Introducing the report, the Mayor paid tribute the work of Deputy Mayor Paul Dennett as Greater Manchester’s homelessness lead and teams working throughout the districts, and welcomed the Government’s commitments to support this work in the city-region.

Mayor of Greater Manchester Andy Burnham said: “The idea that we’re now in this position, when five years ago we were struggling for the infrastructure and funds we needed to tackle rough sleeping and homelessness, is something the whole of Greater Manchester should be proud of.

“Now we are setting out a clear, five-year funding package, covering a range of accommodation and support for people who are homeless or at risk. It is huge progress.

“No one should be left with no option but to sleep rough, but we sadly know that we need this strong safety net for those in desperate need.

“We are once again sending out a clear message that we won’t sit by and ignore homelessness and rough sleeping. We are grateful to Government for the funding they’ve provided to support our ambitions for the people of Greater Manchester.”

Deputy Mayor Paul Dennett also praised the achievements of each of the four schemes in Greater Manchester, and how they have contributed to our ongoing work to end the need for rough sleeping in the city-region.

Paul Dennett, Deputy Mayor for Housing, Homelessness and Infrastructure, said: “It is absolutely phenomenal what has been achieved here. What has been achieved is because Mayor Burnham has made tackling homelessness and rough sleeping his number one priority, but it’s also been achieved because of the work of local government workers, and our Combined Authority officers, who’ve done an absolute sterling job in terms of navigating the myriad different schemes and initiatives that exist. They’ve delivered for the people of Greater Manchester.”

Supporting people to get on and help others

Through a joint effort between local councils, housing providers, and other partners, Greater Manchester has been successful in securing more funding for its Rough Sleeper Accommodation Programme (RSAP) than any other area outside of Greater London.

Victoria, who talks about her past experiences of domestic violence and drug use, spent 12 months sleeping on the streets in Bury before finding supported accommodation with a local housing association. Thanks to RSAP, the team at Jigsaw Homes in Ashton-under-Lyne helped Victoria to find a flat of her own, where she lives now, and her support worker makes regular visits to provide ongoing support and advice.

Victoria said: “The RSAP team helped me with the accommodation, sorting all my bills and things like that. They put me on to job training opportunities. I’ve been to college, I’ve been to Manchester and done NHS health support worker training.

“It was really good, it was so easy. My support worker’s really good. She’s done everything possible. She’s made things a lot easier for me. The accommodation’s really nice.”

Through the support of the RSAP team, Victoria is now working with the housing association that first supported her, and is waiting to start another job with the NHS.

“It’s opened more opportunities”, she says, and allowed her to turn her efforts and experience to helping people who’ve been through similar things – “just working with people that are rough sleeping, that have got lived experiences that I’ve been through.”

Article Published: 27/05/2022 14:13 PM