• A Bed Every Night emergency accommodation scheme to receive 40 beds expansion
  • £300k funding boost from Mayoral Priorities Fund
  • Covid-secure accommodation helps stop the spread of the virus among vulnerable people
  • £663k investment in Youth Homelessness Prevention Pathfinder; Greater Manchester Homelessness Prevention Strategy developed

Greater Manchester’s unique and ambitious A Bed Every Night scheme assisting people sleeping rough across the city-region is to be boosted by 40 beds and £300,000 of additional funding this winter, following an intervention by the Mayor of Greater Manchester, Andy Burnham.

Focusing funds on the scheme through his Mayoral Priorities Fund, the Mayor plans for an expanded A Bed Every Night to continue the progress made in addressing rough sleeping in Greater Manchester, with the latest data showing a 57% decline in the numbers of people sleeping on streets over the last three years.

The £300,000 A Bed Every Night expansion means that extra provision will be suitable for people with dogs and will supplement the capacity of the overall scheme which has been transformed this year to provide warm, safe and Covid-secure emergency accommodation for our city-region’s most vulnerable citizens.

A Bed Every Night sits alongside the Government’s £398,000 Cold Weather funding for Greater Manchester’s local authorities. From March next year, more than 240 new tenancies will be created for people at continued risk of rough sleeping through Government’s Next Steps Accommodation Programme, backed by more than £12.7m of funding for the city-region this financial year.

And a new £663,000 Greater Manchester Young Person’s Homelessness Prevention Pathfinder programme has also been approved at a meeting of all Greater Manchester Leaders today. The one-year pilot aims to work with 250-300 under 35s (mainly 18-25 year olds) who are at risk of becoming homeless. The Pathfinder is just one activity that will be delivered as part of a new Greater Manchester Homelessness Prevention Strategy, due to be published in March 2021.

Andy said: “To see rough sleeping continue to decline across our city-region is incredibly heartening. It has been an incredibly tough year and so it is encouraging to see continued progress. Clearly, our continued focus on ending the need for rough sleeping, integrating our response and working closely together across public, private, charity and faith sectors, is making a very real difference to the lives of so many people.

“I want to pay tribute to the dedicated, hard work of all those who continue to work in our A Bed Every Night and other homelessness schemes. They are doing so during the midst of a pandemic and in a winter when many people are facing the very real and frightening prospect of homelessness. We will not shirk from our responsibilities as a city-region – we care about each other and do not walk on by. We are working hard to end the need for rough sleeping here in Greater Manchester.”

A Bed Every Night, and other vital work happening to tackle homelessness across the city-region, continues to be bolstered by private donations and other fundraising for the Greater Manchester Mayor's Charity – visit gmmayorscharity.co.uk for more information. In addition, the OneGM campaign is fundraising for a hardship fund for Greater Manchester residents hit hard by the economic consequences of the pandemic.

A total of 480 households – individuals and couples – are currently living in 24 A Bed Every Night emergency accommodation sites across Greater Manchester. Supplementing A Bed Every Night, the ongoing delivery of other programmes – including the city-region’s Housing First pilot, the Social Impact Bond, and the 2,000 individuals assisted by the Government’s ‘Everyone In’ directive in the Spring – has also contributed to the fall in numbers.

A Bed Every Night was launched as a pilot scheme in November 2018 as an emergency response to the freezing ‘Beast from the East’ cold weather snap and the very real risk it posed to the lives of Greater Manchester’s rough sleeping population.

Since then it has operated almost continuously, and this year has been transformed from emergency accommodation in often dormitory-style settings into Covid-secure environments, with one individual or household per room. It has been a significant undertaking by charities and local councils to re-engineer A Bed Every Night to function during the coronavirus pandemic, yet it appears the spread of Covid within the scheme is lower than the spread within the wider Greater Manchester population.

This week, a total of 115 people were counted as sleeping rough by local authority teams.  This  contrasts with 151 people recorded in November 2019, 241 in 2018 and 268 the year before. The continuing decrease represents a fall of 57% in just three years.

Paul Dennett, City Mayor of Salford and Greater Manchester Combined Authority lead on Housing and Homelessness, said: “The city-region’s coronavirus response has been inextricably linked to the challenges of people having safe, affordable accommodation available to them. One in three homeless people are clinically vulnerable or extremely clinically vulnerable.

“We are extremely proud of the Greater Manchester response so far, both through the first lockdown and in the months since. Reconfiguring A Bed Every Night to deliver Covid-secure emergency accommodation was no mean feat – it has meant that infection and hospitalisations for people with Covid who are experiencing homelessness remain at least as low as the population as a whole, if not lower.

“Local authorities’ homelessness and public health teams have worked hand-in-hand all year with providers, charity partners, the GMCA, and a wide range of public services. Together they assisted more than 2,000 people into single room accommodation in response to the ‘Everyone In’ directive between March and June. The transition back into Covid-safe A Bed Every Night accommodation is ongoing and will soon have more than 500 spaces available. This winter, Greater Manchester is determined to deliver again for the people who most need it.

“But let’s make no mistake – we still have a huge mountain to climb. Our Housing and Homelessness crisis is being driven by a lack of truly affordable housing in the system – and is compounded by our country’s increasingly insecure and low paid labour market, and punitive welfare reforms. We will continue to do all we can in Greater Manchester to tackle the homelessness crisis - but there is no silver bullet for this problem.”

In the past 12 months, almost 800 people have been assisted into longer-term accommodation from a place in A Bed Every Night, as they continue their journeys away from a life on the streets. However, that is a slower rate than in previous years given the pressures of the pandemic and a reduction in the availability of social housing.

In addition, a homelessness Covid care provision, similar to models in London and Brighton, is being discussed with Government. This will help infection control and care in emergency settings and accelerate discharge for care that can be carried out outside of hospital, with correct additional support for people who are experiencing homelessness.

The new Greater Manchester Young Person’s Homelessness Prevention Pathfinder will support 250-300 under 35s with, for example, mediation to help them stay in the family home where that is appropriate or accessing sustainable alternative housing. Young people will be supported to live independently and maintain tenancies and to be given access to accommodation by working with existing pathways and longer-term investments in private rented sector accommodation.

As well as this, the new Greater Manchester Homelessness Prevention Strategy, due in the Spring, will outline a five-year joined-up vision for Greater Manchester’s approach to tackling homelessness and rough sleeping, including plans to combat the structural issues that create homelessness, and how to go further in reforming public services to prevent homelessness in a much earlier and more sustainable way.

The Greater Manchester Homelessness Prevention Strategy will be co-produced with the Homelessness Action Network and built from the experiences of people who themselves have experienced different forms of homelessness. It recognises that to truly tackle homelessness it is necessary to adopt a preventative and integrated approach, and it will form the basis of Greater Manchester’s next ambitious drive to end the need for rough sleeping across the city-region.


Article Published: 27/11/2020 14:40 PM