Mayor of Greater Manchester sets out bold ambition to prevent homelessness across city-region

A NEW drive to prevent homelessness and rough sleeping in Greater Manchester by tackling the root causes has been announced by Mayor of Greater Manchester, Andy Burnham, in an ambitious and wide-ranging acceleration of the city-region’s approach.

The draft Greater Manchester Homelessness Prevention Strategy, published today (Friday 14 May) for a period of public consultation, shows how the drive to end rough sleeping and homelessness will broaden in the Mayor’s second term to address the root causes of homelessness, such as poor quality, insecure housing.

With evictions from private rented accommodation a major driver of homelessness, the Mayor will place a new Good Landlord Charter at the heart of plans to protect renters and prevent unfair evictions across all 10 boroughs of the city-region.

In recognition of the perilous nature of many residents’ housing circumstances, Greater Manchester Combined Authority (GMCA) Leaders will work to deliver 30,000 zero-carbon homes for social rent, with a detailed delivery plan to be published within a year. A new commitment to work to radically improve temporary accommodation standards has also been announced, with a focus on improved experiences for homeless families.

The public consultation of the new draft Greater Manchester Homelessness Prevention Strategy will run until 26 June. Mayor Andy Burnham is seeking the public’s views in an unprecedented opportunity for local people to contribute valuable experiences and insights to support the drive to end homelessness and improve housing for the long-term.

Andy Burnham, Mayor of Greater Manchester, said: “Today I have been on an early morning walk-about of our city centre to show that tackling rough sleeping and homelessness will be as much of a personal priority in my second term as Mayor as it was in my first. We have reduced the number of people sleeping rough but there is no room for complacency. The Eviction Ban will end at some point and we know there has been a rise in the number of people are in rent arrears. We need to be ready to support people and prevent homelessness wherever we can.

“This is why the time is right to bring forward Greater Manchester’s first Homelessness Prevention Strategy. As well as continuing to provide support for people sleeping rough, we need to broaden our focus to the root causes of homelessness. We know that the single biggest cause of homelessness in Greater Manchester is eviction from private-rented housing. We need to raise standards in the private-rented sector and provide better protection for renters. That’s why we are placing a new Greater Manchester Good Landlord Charter at the heart of our plans. Alongside our commitment to build more homes for social rent, it will help us deliver our goal of good, secure homes for all of our residents.”

Launched in autumn 2018, A Bed Every Night, the city-region’s ambitious and innovative approach to tackling rough sleeping and supporting people from the streets, still regularly accommodates roughly 520 people every night across Greater Manchester.

Building upon that vital work, the new Greater Manchester Homelessness Prevention Strategy sets out a clear path for rapid action to radically reduce all forms of homelessness in the city-region, including working to end rough sleeping. Targeted investment will result in the development of around 300 accommodation units for people who have been sleeping rough, sited in boroughs across the city-region. Implementation of the Strategy will involve local and regional activity, and working with national Government.

Paul Dennett, GMCA Lead on Housing and Homelessness, said: “This Greater Manchester Homelessness Prevention Strategy considers how we truly prevent homelessness, as well as mitigating the risks of homelessness when they occur.

“Homelessness is a consequence of a failing system. In order to prevent homelessness, we must centre on the experiences of people who face inequalities and discrimination that put them at higher risk of homelessness. The wellbeing and participation of those involved in working to find a solution is critical, as is increasing the supply of truly affordable housing, tackling poverty pay and job insecurity and reforming welfare.

“Tackling these wider determinants of homelessness and rough sleeping, and the structural inequalities that underpin the emergence of homelessness and rough sleeping, is absolutely vital.”

The Greater Manchester Homelessness Prevention Strategy has been developed following extensive engagement and partnership working across Greater Manchester, including the 10 local authorities, individuals who have lived experience of homelessness and representatives of the Greater Manchester Homelessness Programme Board, a wide range of partners including: Greater Manchester Health and Social Care Partnership; Voluntary, Community and Social Enterprise Sector; Greater Manchester Homelessness Action Network; Greater Manchester Joint Commissioning Board; Department of Work and Pensions; Her Majesty’s Prison and Probation Service; Greater Manchester Police and Greater Manchester Housing Providers.

The new Strategy is now open for public consultation until 26 June 2021 – anyone who wishes to contribute to the development of the Strategy is encouraged to visit https://www.gmconsult.org/

Feedback from the consultation will feed into the final strategy that will be approved later in the summer.

Article Published: 14/05/2021 10:38 AM