Greater Manchester Leaders back city-region’s first ever Homelessness Prevention Strategy

Greater Manchester Leaders have thrown their support behind the city-region’s first ever Homelessness Prevention Strategy, following a full public consultation and extensive stakeholder engagement.

The strategy builds on the work already happening in Greater Manchester to end the need for rough sleeping and tackle homelessness – it lays out a long-term vision to reduce the numbers of people finding themselves at risk of homelessness.

The strategy has been co-produced with people with lived experiences of homelessness, and those who work with them, in order to create a system-wide response that covers the full scope of the change that needs to happen. The strategy takes a person-centred and trauma-informed approach to understanding and responding to issues around homelessness.

As part of Greater Manchester Combined Authority’s (GMCA’s) participative approach to developing the strategy through Legislative Theatre Forums, some of the feedback from individuals included:

  • "I want to be able to support my children and stop them from going through the things I had to"
  • "I want to have good work, something that feels good and means I have enough each month"
  • "I want to be able to live without fear of being evicted"
  • "I want to be able to cook for my child and eat the food that we like"

Greater Manchester has already made great strides in the last four years in tackling rough sleeping and homelessness through A Bed Every Night, Housing First and the Social Impact Bond for entrenched rough sleepers. Across the city-region as a whole, rough sleeping has fallen by 57% since 2017.

The shadow of Covid has influenced the strategy as we come out of the immediate emergency response to the pandemic to protect the health of people who are homeless. The pandemic has shown that where there is a will and financial support, accommodation can be found to end rough sleeping. Now the focus is on ensuring we build on this experience and work jointly with a range of partner organisations to create good homes, good jobs and good health for people who are homeless, as structural inequalities are addressed.

Andy Burnham, Mayor of Greater Manchester, said: "Our first ever Homelessness Prevention Strategy is a testament of how we do things differently in Greater Manchester. We’ve worked with people who have lived experience of homelessness and professionals, communities, charities and faith groups who work with them to design a long-term and ambitious solution that puts people, participation and prevention first.

"I’m proud of the achievement of all our partners across the city-region in significantly reducing rough sleeping over the last four years, but as well as continuing to support those in need, we need to address the causes of homelessness. This is why good homes, jobs and health are key to this strategy which will help us make a further dent in reducing homelessness."

With evictions from private rented accommodation a major driver of homelessness, the Mayor has committed to introduce a Good Landlord Scheme to protect renters and prevent unfair evictions across all 10 boroughs of the city-region.

As well as this, Greater Manchester Leaders will work to deliver 30,000 zero-carbon homes for social rent, with a detailed delivery plan to be published within a year. A new commitment to work to radically improve temporary accommodation standards has already been announced, with a focus on improved experiences for homeless families.

The Homelessness Prevention Strategy sets out five missions that Greater Manchester partner organisations are committed to working towards to prevent homelessness:

  1. Everyone can access and sustain a home that is safe, decent, accessible and affordable
  2. Everyone leaves our places of care with a safe place to go
  3. Everyone can access quality advice, advocacy and support to prevent homelessness
  4. People experiencing homelessness have respite, recovery and re-connection support
  5. Homelessness is never an entrenched or repeat experience

These missions are underpinned by three guiding principles:

  1. Working with People; being truly person-centred, reducing and responding to inequalities and trauma
  2. Building Participation; building inclusive participation so that people can participate in decisions that affect their lives and where lived experience is highly valued
  3. Embedding Prevention; reforming public services to deliver genuinely preventative and person-centred support

The deliverables, commitments and indicators to implement the strategy will be co-produced and will lead to a Greater Manchester Action Plan by October 2021.

Paul Dennett, GMCA Lead on Housing and Homelessness, said: "The Homelessness Prevention Strategy represents a challenge to us all to tackle the structural inequalities, wider determinants and causes of the homelessness and rough-sleeping crisis we’re facing in Greater Manchester. It’s a completely new approach to public service delivery that is collaborative, integrated and embeds lived experiences, whilst ensure that people in need don’t fall through the gaps as they move from one service to another.

"While an Action Plan underpinning the Strategy will be published in the autumn, we’re already getting on with things. This includes boosting our affordable housing supply, prioritising the delivery of 30,000 zero-carbon homes for social rent, whilst also introducing a Good Landlord Charter, delivering good homes for all by maintaining housing standard and further resourcing enforcement across Greater Manchester."

The Greater Manchester Homelessness Prevention Strategy has been developed following extensive engagement and partnership working across Greater Manchester, including the 10 local authorities, individuals who have lived experience of homelessness and representatives of the Greater Manchester Homelessness Programme Board, a wide range of partners including: Greater Manchester Health and Social Care Partnership; Voluntary, Community and Social Enterprise Sector; Greater Manchester Homelessness Action Network; Greater Manchester Joint Commissioning Board; Department of Work and Pensions; Her Majesty’s Prison and Probation Service; Greater Manchester Police and Greater Manchester Housing Providers.

Article Published: 13/09/2021 11:37 AM