HUNDREDS of rough sleepers across Greater Manchester will be helped to build a life away from the streets and doorways of Greater Manchester thanks to wide-ranging new measures, including £1.8 million of new funding.

Mayor of Greater Manchester Andy Burnham said the money, one of only eight social impact bonds (SIB) approved and the largest outside of London, will help to provide accommodation, intensive health support and improvements in the way homeless people are encouraged into education or work for up to 200 people.

The news comes two weeks after the mayor called on all public bodies in the city to work together to end homelessness and rough sleeping with immediate action.

Today representatives from all those organisations attended a meeting of Greater Manchester’s Reform Board to suggest wide-ranging, practically-focused actions that could be taken to ensure homelessness and rough sleeping are immediately reduced.

These actions include an immediate call to the Government to halt the roll out of the Universal Credit benefit scheme, which all members of the Reform Board agreed was fundamental to reducing rough sleeping and homelessness across the city region.

Mr Burnham said: “This is not a political point. I am speaking for the entire board – the entire public sector in Greater Manchester – when I make this plea to the Prime Minister and Government.

“You must suspend the roll out of the Universal Credit benefit.

“It was a unanimous view in the meeting that Universal Credit will make the homeless and rough sleeping problem here dramatically worse.

“If it goes ahead as planned we will see a much greater problem unfold in front of our eyes.”

The Greater Manchester Combined Authority announced a £1.8 million SIB, a Government-backed bond using money provided by the private sector to deliver improvements including:

  • Finding and keeping a home
  • Making sure support is provided to find employment, education or training
  • Providing intensive support around people on an individual basis
  • Enabling people to access specialist support services around mental health and addiction.

It is expected that the new service will be on the streets of Greater Manchester by the end of the month, helping people during the critical winter months.

The Greater Manchester Health and Social Care Partnership suggested:

  • Ensuring those who wish to be registered with their local GP practice are registered with a proper patient record
  • Ensuring no patient is discharged from hospital onto the street
  • Supporting the development of outreach teams in all localities offering screening, health advice and support to those living in hostels, refuges or other temporary accommodation
  • Joined up commissioning and provision of targeted specialist support services such as mental health, substance misuse and wider primary care – for example implementing arrangements to ensure that homeless people can access free eye tests, where necessary taking a flexible approach to the proof of identity/eligibility set out in the current paperwork.

Greater Manchester Fire and Rescue Service suggested opening all 41 fire stations across Greater Manchester to be used to support homeless people, partnering with community and voluntary groups to provide a range of services such as food and drink.

The group includes the chief executives of all 10 Greater Manchester councils, as well as the region’s chief health officer, Greater Manchester housing providers, the county fire officer, clinical commissioning leaders, mental health providers, the Department for Work and Pensions and the chief constable.

There was also wide-ranging support for a number of projects and ideas which would tackle the issue.

These included:

  • Focusing on preventative work which would ensure people do not become homeless if it can be avoided, including an early warning system
  • The creation of a Greater Manchester good landlord scheme to regulate private landlords better in a bid to improve the standard of rented homes and ensure landlords are monitored
  • Considering one bedroom accommodation as part of the rethink on the spatial framework, particularly what type of homes are needed and where they need to be built
  • Being tougher on people dealing psychoactive substances on the streets and those who are begging but not homeless.

The group also agreed that consistent data around the numbers of homeless people was needed but that more comprehensive research into individuals and the reasons they were homeless had to be part of a new approach.

The Reform Board also wanted to look at how it would deliver improvements and how its work could be held to account.

Mr Burnham said: “I have made ending rough sleeping in Greater Manchester a personal priority and these developments represent a major breakthrough on that journey.

“This new money will provide real solutions to help people to get off the streets and find warmth, safety and a better life with work.

"But while it is major progress, there is still a huge challenge in front of us.

“There is good work already being done across Greater Manchester by our councils and others but with so many people on the streets we always have to challenge ourselves to go further.

“This is a crisis unfolding before our eyes and will only be solved if we work as one and bring the contribution of public, private and voluntary sectors together.

“We have to think differently and try new ideas and ways of improving the lives of hundreds of people who don’t have a home to call their own.”

Mr Burnham continues to put 15 per cent of his salary into his Homelessness Fund, which is supporting organisations which help homeless people and rough sleepers to get off the streets.

The fund has already provided grants of more than £30,000.

To donate to the fund visit