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Greater Manchester sees a big fall in people sleeping rough by 37% in one year

  • Rough sleeping has fallen by over a quarter in Manchester; only one person recorded sleeping rough in Trafford
  • Mayor Andy Burnham’s A Bed Every Night scheme sees a significant impact
  • Mayor calls on the Prime Minister to take immediate action to end rough sleeping
  • The extra £54m for sleeping rough announced in the last Parliament should be released now

Mayor of Greater Manchester, Andy Burnham, has today announced the number of people sleeping rough in the Greater Manchester city-region has fallen by 37% in one year. The Mayor has published figures from the rough sleeper count that took place in November 2019 which shows that the number of people sleeping rough has fallen from 241 in November 2018 to 151. That’s 90 fewer people sleeping on the streets. Manchester saw a drop of over a quarter (26%) while Trafford now records only one person sleeping rough. These figures are a local snapshot that have been submitted to the national official count which will be published in February 2020.

Since devolution in Greater Manchester in 2017 and various initiatives to tackle rough sleeping, the number of people sleeping rough has dropped 44% in two years, after increasing nearly every year since 2010. In England as a total, the number of people sleeping rough increased 269% between 2010-2017 before falling by 1.5% in 2018.

Initiatives taken in Greater Manchester include:

  • A Bed Every Night – a scheme introduced by the Mayor which provides a bed and personal support on an emergency basis to people sleeping rough who don’t qualify for statutory provision. ABEN has supported nearly 3000 people with 30% moving into more secure accommodation; in last month alone, 502 individuals accessed ABEN with 44% achieving a positive move into more secure accommodation. The scheme is entirely funded by local partners in the NHS, probation service and charity fundraising. The scheme is for people from Greater Manchester, however people from outside the area won’t be turned away in an immediate emergency but we will later help them to reconnect with their local community.
  • Rough Sleeper Initiative – a Government initiative to eliminate sleeping rough by 2027 which has funded outreach teams to develop local tailored interventions.
  • Housing First – supports people with multiple and complex needs out of sleeping rough into a home with ongoing wrap around support. There are currently 100 people on the programme with a further 320 over the next 2 years.

Whilst this is good progress, there is still further to go. But it is important to note that what people see during the daytime, particularly in the city centre of Manchester, does not reflect the true situation on the streets in the early hours of the morning.

                                                Rough sleepers

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2018/19 difference









































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The Mayor has also repeated his call on the Prime Minister to take immediate action to end the humanitarian crisis of people sleeping rough. At the start of the winter general election campaign, the Mayor wrote to all the main party leaders setting out what action they could take straight away if they became Prime Minister to tackle rough sleeping.

Now is the time for action and the Mayor wants to see Prime Minister Boris Johnson take immediate steps, including:

  • Releasing the extra £54m for sleeping rough announced in the last Parliament to towns and cities now. Greater Manchester will use the money to help even more people sleeping rough through the A Bed Every Night scheme now and into 2020.
  • Ending the freeze on the Local Housing Allowance with immediate effect and ensure it keeps pace with the increase in local rents.
  • Ending no-fault evictions and announce this in the forthcoming Queen’s Speech.
  • Abolish the no recourse to public funds policy.

Commenting on the figures, Mayor of Greater Manchester, Andy Burnham, said:

“We still have much further to go on our mission to end the situation of people sleeping rough in Greater Manchester but this is real progress. It has been achieved by the hard work of hundreds of caring people in our councils, charities and faith communities and the generosity of the Greater Manchester public. It shows the power of this place when we work as one.

“But we now need much more help from the Government. We need an end to policies which are forcing people onto the streets - such as the freeze on local housing allowance - and more support to extend schemes like A Bed Every Night right across the country. A policy of ending rough sleeping by 2027 is simply not good enough. People are dying on British streets now for want of a home and Greater Manchester is proving that, with urgent action, lives can be saved this winter.”

Councillor Sue Murphy, Deputy Leader of Manchester City Council, said:

“Tackling the rough sleeping crisis has been one of the most challenging issues faced by Manchester City Council in recent times. While it is positive to see a decline in the number of people sleeping rough, we cannot be complacent and must continue to affect real change in our City.

“We have, through the Manchester Homelessness Partnership, forged valuable links with organisations, charities and volunteer groups who all work towards the goal of ending rough sleeping. Any success is to be shared with them and reflects the priority given to this issue and the scale of resources which we have invested in this area.

“This is a snapshot of the homelessness situation in Manchester, and there is still work to be done in the coming years. We now need to repeat our calls to Central Government to treat homelessness seriously.”

For further information about A Bed Every Night, including information on how to donate or give your time, visit the website or follow #BedEveryNight on Twitter.

Article Published: 17/12/2019 11:54 AM