Greater Manchester announces third phase of A Bed Every Night scheme

A Bed Every Night, Greater Manchester’s flagship scheme for ending rough sleeping, will enter its third phase this July, the Greater Manchester Combined Authority (GMCA) has announced.

445 beds will be delivered across all 10 of Greater Manchester’s boroughs in the third phase of the scheme, which is expected to cost roughly £4.75 million and is scheduled to operate between July 2020 and March 2021.

The Mayor of Greater Manchester Andy Burnham has called on the government to aid the city region’s transition from the government’s current Everyone In rough sleeping scheme, which has helped 1,500 people across Greater Manchester during the COVID-19 pandemic.

Burnham has urged the government to work with the combined authority to ‘fully fund’ the city region’s Everyone In accommodation so that rough sleepers living in hotel rooms – currently over 650 –  can be moved safely back to the A Bed Every Night programme.

The government came under fire last week as a Manchester Evening News story based on a leaked GMCA report accused it of pulling future Everyone In funding, which the government furiously denied.

Burnham said: “Everyone In was never meant to last forever. When it comes to an end we will need funding to ensure vulnerable people are not suddenly left without accommodation.

“It will take time to phase out hotel use and reinstate the A Bed Every Night system, and we will need to work with government to do it as effectively and sensitively as possible.”

Since it launched in November 2018, A Bed Every Night has helped rough sleepers or those at risk of rough sleeping into temporary accommodation such as night shelters where they can get sleep, food and other targeted support.

Over 3,000 people have accessed the scheme since it began, with over 1,000 of those going on to find longer-term accommodation, while the scheme has slashed rates of rough sleeping in Greater Manchester by almost 50% in the past two years according to recent figures.

The GMCA says the third phase of the scheme is designed to operate ‘post-COVID’ with rough sleepers set to sleep in self-contained rooms or in multiple occupancy houses.

Infection control measures will be developed from current guidance for residential settings and will be reviewed by the GMCA in conjunction with Public Health England.

Paul Dennett, GMCA lead on housing and homelessness, said: “The role of A Bed Every Night becomes even more critical as a humanitarian relief programme as we move towards living with coronavirus and manage the continued risk to life that this presents to those who are vulnerable.

“It is therefore critical that we support the continuation of A Bed Every Night in Greater Manchester and ensure that those who tragically find themselves homeless continue to have a roof over their head and the certainty of ongoing accommodation and support.”

A Bed Every Night is just one of several government measures to address rough sleeping in Greater Manchester, which also include the Rough Sleeper Initiative, the Rapid Rehousing Pathway and the city-region’s ongoing Housing First pilot.

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