A partnership established to help alleviate homelessness in Greater Manchester has marked its first anniversary by taking stock of what it has done so far.
GM Homes Partnership was launched in 2018 by One Manchester and Trafford Housing Trust, along with specialist investor Bridges Fund Management. It is delivered by Shelter, Great Places Housing, and The Brick, and it enjoys the support of wide range of organisations including the city region’s housing providers.
The partnership marked its first anniversary at the Royal Exchange Theatre, where partners, participants and case workers came together to celebrate the programme.
Dave Power, group chief executive of One Manchester opened the event, praising the partnership between the Greater Manchester Housing Providers, Bridges Fund Management and Trafford Housing Trust. He also commended the delivery partners – Shelter, The Brick and Great Places – for their commitment and innovative approach to sharing of best practice.
The Mayor of Greater Manchester, Andy Burnham, discussed the partnership’s approach to tackling homelessness, and how this three year program was “a new thing, no-one knew what would happen, or if it would work. Undoubtedly, it has”.
“The people who make this initiative a success are the people who have been through it,” Burnham added. “This could happen to any one of us, we’re all just a few bits of bad luck away. But the people in the organisations involved are passionate people, doing more than just a job, and that shines through.”
To date, the GM Homes Partnership has supported 250 people into accommodation across Greater Manchester, giving them wrap around support including with mental health and addiction issues.
The number of people it has helped in its first year is actually more than it expected to help over the course of the three year programme; an initial target of 200 had originally been set. Many participants have also been helped into volunteering, education and work placements, with people like Jason, who has been helped by the partnership through delivery partner Shelter.
Jason said: “My support worker, Catherine, she knows what my hobbies and my interests are, and she came up with an idea for me. She said there’s an opportunity at Trafford Housing Trust, if you’re interested. Now I’m upcycling furniture, recycling it, working with my hands and it’s something I love doing. I’ve taken that opportunity with both hands, and it’s like all my Christmases have rolled into one. I want to prove to them that I can be an asset to the company, and hopefully they’ll employ me.”
The GM Homes Partnership has another two years of support to give. The focus for the next stage of its programme is to address the systemic issues across Greater Manchester that may be contributing to homelessness and rough sleeping, and using evidence, co-production and learning to influence commissioning and identify new solutions.
“It’s crucial that the initiative continues to work in partnership with health, housing and justice strategies to integrate services and break down historical barriers for individuals trapped in the system. The aim is to work towards prevention whilst continuing to support participants to move forward and realise their potential,” the partnership says.