Hundreds of emergency accommodation beds to support people sleeping rough across Greater Manchester open on Tuesday at the start of the second phase of Mayor of Greater Manchester Andy Burnham’s ambitious, flagship A Bed Every Night scheme.
The Office for National Statistics (ONS) published figures on Tuesday showing that across England and Wales the number of homeless deaths has increased. However, in Manchester and across the city-region there has been a fall and, though numbers remain far too high, Greater Manchester is taking steps to tackle homelessness including unprecedented work on rough sleeping.
In total, 400 beds will be ready from Tuesday night across all 10 of the city-region’s boroughs, 100 more than were available last year, as a vital support to the already-existing homelessness accommodation in Greater Manchester.
Launched in November 2018 with about 300 bed spaces, A Bed Every Night is Greater Manchester’s commitment – the first of its kind in any city in the UK – to provide a bed, warm welcome and personal support for every single person forced to sleep on the streets.
The programme has so far helped more than 2,000 people off the city-region’s streets, 688 of whom are now in longer-term accommodation.
This winter, 100 extra beds will be available – and the provision will be more varied ensuring that people’s specific needs can be met. This includes women-only spaces, provision for couples and, through the greater involvement of NHS colleagues, support for those with complex needs such as addictions and mental ill-health. There will also be more options for people with dogs.
Mayor of Greater Manchester, Andy Burnham, said: “A Bed Every Night is working, but we now want to take it up to the next level. With winter on the horizon, I am pleased to say we have now started the important second phase of A Bed Every Night. With our local NHS fully on board as a partner, I hope it will lead to an improvement of the quality of support we are able to offer.
“Today’s ONS data on homeless deaths is shocking – I have consistently supported the publication of these national figures to shine a light on the scale of the country’s homelessness crisis. The numbers are a national disgrace and Government needs to do more on a national level, and indeed more to support our efforts here in Greater Manchester to provide emergency accommodation which includes the involvement of our NHS.
“Since it began, A Bed Every Night has supported more than 2,000 people and 688 have moved from shelters to a fixed address. It is amazing to see people from all walks of life rallying round to support it, and I will continue to donate 15% of my salary to the cause. In 2019, no-one should need to spend a night on the street. In Greater Manchester we’re making sure they do not have to.”
In September, the Mayor announced that this winter’s A Bed Every Night will benefit from a comprehensive £6m funding package. The financial backing will help the scheme deliver more beds, more professional involvement and stronger partnerships between different funding agencies and organisations.
The joined-up approach across Greater Manchester includes the involvement of the Greater Manchester Combined Authority (GMCA), the 10 local councils, Greater Manchester Health and Social Care Partnership (GMHSCP), Greater Manchester Police (GMP), Ministry of Justice (MoJ) and HM Prison and Probation Service, the Community Rehabilitation Company, Greater Manchester Mayor’s Charity, Tackle4MCR and the Greater Manchester Homelessness Action Network.
The two main funding partners are GMCA and the GMHSCP, with a £2 million contribution from the latter. As well as improving the quality of accommodation, there will be more training for 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.
For further information about A Bed Every Night, including information on how to donate or give your time, visit the new-look website www.bedeverynight.co.uk or follow #BedEveryNight on Twitter.