A Bed Every Night, Greater Manchester’s bold and ambitious scheme helping people sleeping rough, has seen a significant increase in the number of people now indoors.
More than 900 people previously living on the streets across all 10 boroughs, from Manchester to Stockport, Salford to Bury, have benefitted from A Bed Every Night’s warm, safe and supported accommodation since the scheme’s launch at the start of November.
In a further sign of the positive impact of the approach, 285 individuals already supported by A Bed Every Night have stabilised and have since moved into their own supported accommodation.
A Bed Every Night runs to 31 March, providing accommodation for everyone sleeping rough who wants and needs it across Greater Manchester every night of the week, regardless of weather conditions or temperatures.
The Mayor of Greater Manchester, Andy Burnham, said: “This winter, Greater Manchester is the only city-region in the UK providing places every single night for people sleeping rough. These figures show that our bold, unique and ambitious approach is working. We are helping people turn their lives around and A Bed Every Night is saving lives.
“In total, 901 people have been supported off the streets. That is a mightily impressive statistic. It is a testament to the hard work being undertaken across our city-region, but it also reveals the extent of the crisis and demonstrates why it was crucial for me to make tackling rough sleeping my number one priority as Mayor.
“I continue to listen to feedback regarding how A Bed Every Night is operating on the ground. Doubtless there are areas that can still be improved. But it is a massive enhancement on previous winter provision and it is only possible because of the way all 10 of our councils, plus voluntary and faith organisations, are pulling together and the generosity of our people and businesses.
“Rough sleeping and homelessness is a social scourge. In this day and age we as a country are wealthy enough and should be humane enough to ensure everyone has a roof over their head. Here in Greater Manchester, we are leading the way in showing what can be achieved with collective will and compassion.”
The Mayor has pledged to end the need for rough sleeping in Greater Manchester by 2020. A Bed Every Night, funded by local authorities and supplemented by generous donations from Greater Manchester’s businesses and members of the public, is the first step off the street for many of the city-region’s homeless.
Next month the ground-breaking Housing First pilot – £7.6m of government investment over three years to establish accommodation for people facing multiple needs and exclusion, including homeless people – is anticipated to commence its work. It will operate alongside the existing Social Impact Bond (SIB) programme which has thus far secured independent living spaces for 223 of the city-region’s previously most entrenched rough sleepers.
In an additional, innovative move, Transport for Greater Manchester (TfGM) has stepped in to facilitate people’s journeys off the streets; TfGM has provided 600 System One one-day bus scratch cards, which can be used on local bus services to help those sleeping rough access accommodation.
The number of beds available through A Bed Every Night and the variety of support on offer continues to grow. Teenager Blade, from Trafford, spent nights on the streets for much of 2018. In a new video for the Greater Manchester Combined Authority (GMCA), the 19 year-old explains how A Bed Every Night accommodation, delivered by Great Places and Trafford Council, helped him stabilise and begin to re-establish his life.
Blade is now in his own flat in Trafford, supported by Great Places. He says: “It has been a blessing, just having a foundation. I was on the streets, I had nowhere to go – sometimes I even had to stay in my friends’ cars. It just wasn’t right.
“Having this space now gives me the opportunity to look for more. I am trying to get a good job, to work things out, to slowly progress.
“For people who are in the same position as me, on the streets at a young age, I’d say try and reach out for the help. Now I feel like I’m doing a lot better, more positive. I’m just trying to build myself up because I’ve felt very low for time.”
Article Published: 19/01/2019 10:59 AM