Homelessness is theme for Greater Manchester Mayoral candidate debate in Salford

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HOMELESSNESS and housing will be key issues when candidates in the race to be Greater Manchester’s Mayor meet in Salford next week.

On April 3 at St Philip’s Chapel,  five of the people hoping to become Manchester’s first metro mayor will come together to debate private rents and the fact that homelessness is at its highest levels for a decade.

Andy Burnham, for Labour; Sean Anstee, Conservative; Jane Brophy, Liberal Democrat; Will Patterson, Green and Shneur Odze, UKIP, will all be on the platform to answer questions.

Isaac Rose, Greater Manchester Housing Action (GMHA) coordinator, said: “In this hustings we focus on housing and homelessness because we felt like this was a real issue in Greater Manchester.

“Homelessness is a very visible symptom of a broader housing crisis.

“It’s been a huge increase in homelessness over the past 2 years in the city region.

rough-sleepers_21341477_20deb4c7dff50312d09f984a8e118d1a0b3a793f“But what we want is taking this approach of campaigning on renters’ rights and social housing at the same time, to tap that into broader issues around housing such as insecure tenancy, short term tenancies.”

According to Mr Rose, the highest cause of homelessness was short term tenancies coming to an end. People were not able to renew their tenancy and as a result, it left them homeless.  

He added: “On social housing, most of the houses have been sold off so we want to campaign and say that we actually need to build more because at the end of the day you can’t expect the market to provide homes in areas that may have low incomes and may not be the most lucrative deal for private developments to build those kinds of homes.”

GMHA aims to get the future mayor to respond to these issues. The voices in this kind of debates are often private developers, landlords or housing associations and not people who are homeless or people who have to put up with poor renting conditions.

Mr Rose said: “We want to strengthen these voices and get them to be heard more or even balance it really.”

The candidates will make pledges and recommendations about the future of Greater Manchester and how they can resolve these issues when elected.

Anyone wanting to vote in the Mayoral election who is not yet registered can look here to download the registration form.o

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