THIS is no time to be complacent, admitted the Mayor of Greater Manchester Andy Burnham, as new figures revealed rough sleeping has declined in the city region for the second year running
New figures from the Greater Manchester Combined Authority (GMCA) show local councils’ outreach teams recently recorded 195 people sleeping rough across the 10 boroughs, in contrast to 241 recorded as part of the Government’s official rough sleeper count, which took place in November 2018.
The latest fall of 19% continues the downward trend first recorded in January with the publication of the official rough sleeper count, which revealed a decrease of 8%. This was the first time rough sleeping had fallen in Greater Manchester in almost a decade. Since 2010, rough sleeping had been increasing, reaching a high of 268 people in 2017.
“While fewer people are sleeping rough in Greater Manchester than when I came into office, I am not in any way complacent and know so much more needs to be done,” said Burnham.
“But these figures show that the commitment of our councils and community organisations is making a real difference, and I want to thank everyone for making A Bed Every Night such a strong response to the homelessness crisis.
“As a result, Greater Manchester is entering the coming winter with a stronger set of arrangements for people sleeping rough than we have ever had. We have more places to stay of a better quality and are well on the way towards our goal of ending the need for rough sleeping.”
A Bed Every Night is the GM Mayor’s flagship scheme for tackling the issue across the combined authority. The scheme has been expanded for the coming winter, with more than 400 beds to be made available for rough sleepers across the city region, and a bigger outreach team.
Furthermore, the GMCA says new data systems have been implemented to share information and co-ordinate responses, with “significant investment” in accommodation and support that goes far beyond the statutory duty of local authorities.
Since the scheme was launched in November 2018, more than 2,200 people have benefitted from A Bed Every Night emergency accommodation. Since then, individual boroughs in Greater Manchester assisted people to move from a life on the streets into emergency accommodation; in Salford 120 people are in A Bed Every Night provision with 12 individuals counted as living outdoors, while in Tameside 45 people are indoors with a fraction of that amount still street homeless, the GMCA says.
More than 400 beds will be available at the start of next month, with the largest numbers located in Manchester – which also has the largest rough sleeper population – and Salford.