Andy Burnham Has Announced A New Plan To Help Manchester’s Homeless

Mayor Andy Burnham has announced a £6m funding package for the second phase of the flagship A Bed Every Night scheme.

The ground-breaking A Bed Every Night scheme – the first of its kind in the UK – started back in November 2018 with an aim to providing a bed, warm welcome and personal support for anyone sleeping on the streets.

A spokesman for the Greater Manchester Combined Authority (GMCA) said that, in Phase 1, more than £3.3m of funding was provided for 300 beds. Since it launched, 2003 people have been supported through it and 688 have moved on to secure and long-term accommodation.

On an average night, 300 people have been supported. This wouldn’t have happened without the involvement of a range of partners from the GMCA, 10 local authorities, voluntary and faith groups, amongst many others.

The spokesman said Phase 2 of the scheme has sought to learn from feedback on Phase 1. And will include more beds, more professional involvement, more secure funding and stronger partnerships between different funding agencies and organisations.

These include: the GMCA, the 10 Councils, Greater Manchester Health and Social Care Partnership, Greater Manchester Police, Ministry of Justice and HM Prison and Probation Service, Greater Manchester Mayor’s Charity, Raise the Roof, Tackle4MCR and the Greater Manchester Homelessness Action Network.

Photo: Mayor of Greater Manchester

Mayor of Greater Manchester Andy Burnham said:

“In 2017, I made a firm commitment to do everything I could to end the need for rough sleeping by 2020 and it remains my top priority. With this strengthening of A Bed Every Night, I believe we have a plan that honours that pledge.

“People gave us honest feedback on Phase 1 and these new plans seeks to respond to it. It is not perfect but it is getting better all the time. Today Greater Manchester is going up yet another gear in its response to the homelessness crisis.

“I am hugely grateful to all of our partners for answering the call to action and rallying round. I am particularly indebted to our colleagues in the NHS whose greater input into A Bed Every Night will make a huge difference.”

The GMCA spokesman said 400 places have been commissioned up to June 2020 to end the need for rough sleeping in all Greater Manchester boroughs. This marks a substantial increase on the 300 beds available in Phase 1. It is hoped that the extra provision will mean that there should be a place for every person seeking support. As with Phase 1, support will be limited to people whose last address was in Greater Manchester.

Photo: Mayor of Greater Manchester

As well as increasing the number of places, Phase 2 seeks to improve the quality of support. Provision will be more varied ensuring that people’s specific needs can be met, including women-only spaces, provision for couples and, through the greater involvement of NHS colleagues, those with complex needs such as addictions and mental health. There will also be more options for people with dogs.

Dr Tom Tasker, GP, Co-Chair GM Joint Commissioning Team & Chair of NHS Salford Commissioning Group said:

“Rough sleeping is a dangerous and isolating experience. As a GP, we see that there is a considerable impact on a person’s physical and mental health caused by homelessness and rough sleeping. In many cases, people experiencing homelessness are already facing multiple complexities, which are compounded further by spending even one night sleeping on the street.

“GM Health and Social Care partners are providing an investment of £2m to allow us to tackle this issue head-on. This will support the continuation of the A Bed Every Night Programme, while at the same time giving us a platform to further develop the health and well-being input to the programme.”

The two main funding partnerships are GMCA and the GMHSCP, with the contribution from the latter now at £2m – up from the £1.5m announced in June 2019. As well as improving the quality of accommodation, there will be more training of front-line staff and volunteers and improve signposting, screening and assessment into relevant health services.

The 400 bed spaces are being provided by a range of organisations from voluntary, faith, community groups and housing providers.

The Mayor has also announced a new public information leaflet on A Bed Every Night which explains what the scheme is, how it works, what to do if they see someone sleeping rough, and how to donate time, money or goods.

Photo: Mayor of Greater Manchester

A Bed Every Night Phase 2 will go live on October 1 2019.

Deputy Chief Constable Ian Pilling of Greater Manchester Police said:

“A key priority for GMP is protecting the most vulnerable in society and this includes those who sleep on our streets.

“Being compassionate and offering support where needed is the first step in our response as we recognise how vulnerable those sleeping on the streets can be. We’ve backed A Bed Every Night from the start because we know a range of agencies and organisations on the frontline need to work together to help people off the streets and into safe accommodation.”

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

“The rise in homelessness and rough sleeping is one of the biggest challenges we face today and it is not one that we can solve in isolation.

“We will continue to support A Bed Every Night, this year contributing 70 additional emergency bed spaces for people sleeping rough in Manchester, on top of the support we already provide to rough sleepers from Manchester. As the scheme progresses, the number of emergency beds available will also increase.

“A Bed Every Night is one way we are able to support some of the most vulnerable members of society, and it will add to our existing services that help people get off the streets, and rebuild their lives.”


Also published on Medium.

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