Manchester launches partnership to tackle homelessness

The Greater Manchester Homes Partnership has been established, with its express aim being to work with “entrenched rough sleepers” in a £1.8m programme over three years.

The partnership, trailed by Mayor Andy Burnham in October, has been formed to bid for one of the Department for Communities & Local Government’s social impact bonds, a commissioning tool where funding for services is conditional on results. The partners pay for the programmes upfront and then receive payments based on the results of the project.

Entrenched rough sleepers will be given intensive support to sustain a tenancy in one of 270 homes being made available by 15 housing providers across Greater Manchester, along with two private rented sector partners. They will be given the concentrated emotional and practical support they need in order to access targeted training, health and employment opportunities.

All 10 councils are included in the partnership, along with public services bodies, the charitable sector, businesses and the Greater Manchester Combined Authority.

In addition, said GMCA, it has become the first major metropolitan area in the UK that will make emergency help available to rough sleepers after one night of temperatures dipping below zero. The legal requirement for local authorities as things stand is to provide support following three consecutive nights of sub-zero temperatures. Specific measures will be decided at a local level by each council, but include opening emergency shelters with beds, showers and support.

The councils have also agreed to grant homeless people free access to the documentation necessary to support housing applications, such as birth certificates.

John Ryan of Shelter said: “As another cold winter bites and the number of people sleeping on our streets continues to grow, we are delighted to be part of this exciting new partnership to tackle the issue. It’s a fantastic opportunity for us to work collaboratively with others, to reach hundreds of people who are struggling across the city, and we can’t wait to get started.”

Greater Manchester Mayor Andy Burnham said: “As winter draws in, it is vital that the right support is there for people who are sleeping on our streets. These measures are groundbreaking and genuinely innovative.

“This shows the power of the partnership as none of this would have been possible without the leadership shown by our councils, other public bodies, housing providers and both the private and voluntary sectors.”

One Manchester and Trafford Housing Trust have driven the partnership’s formation, with Bridges Fund Management, which managed funds for impact-driven investment. The delivery partners are Shelter, Great Places and The Brick.

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