GMCA announces plan to end rough sleeping by 2020

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Rough sleepers

Rough sleepers have been consistently an issue across Greater Manchester 

QUAYS News reporter, Thomas Taylor, investigates the public response to the new Mayor’s plans to put an end to rough sleeping.

Following his election on the 4th, Greater Manchester’s new Mayor Andy Burnham established the Greater Manchester Mayor’s Homelessness Fund yesterday.

The elected Mayor has announced that he will be attempting to end rough sleeping by 2020, a pledge he had initially made as a mayoral candidate.

Mayor Burnham will be donating 15% of his salary as Mayor in order to get the fund started, with the fund being open to donation online from the public.

“As the newly elected Mayor of Greater Manchester, I have made ending rough sleeping across the city region by 2020 one of my top Mayoral priorities. Within three years, and if we can achieve it earlier, no one should be forced to spend a night on the streets,” said Mayor Burnham on a statement on the GoFundMe page for the fund.

Have a look at this infographic for historical context on Manchester’s homelessness crisis.

The fund’s specific initiatives are listed on the GMCA website:

  • Building specialised supported accommodation for young people with access to education, volunteering and employment opportunities.
  • Expanding mental health and rehabilitation programmes across Greater Manchester, including re-building community mental health support, recovery-led accommodation and arts programmes.
  • Bringing empty properties back in to use for people threatened with becoming homeless.

Tony, 48, who has been homeless for three years after his wife kicked him out due to his drinking said, “I’ve not heard someone, especially of his status, do that for us before. I hope it works as the city itself really needs it right now.”

Tommy, 53, was one of the people that Andy spoke to when walking the streets early on Monday morning, “the homeless situation has suddenly taken a turn because of all of this spice stuff going on. It was never a nice place or situation to be in but there’s a change in the air – for the worst – we need the help. He seems like a very nice genuine man ready to take action. I hope that in another year’s time there’ll be a different sight to the streets of Manchester, it’s a good feeling.”

Along with creating the fund, Burnham also announced the creation Greater Manchester Homelessness Action Network, a network of charity organisations, businesses, faith groups, and other local authorities.

Mathew Mitchell, 28, was in favour of the new initiatives: “It’s a good thing for everyone, especially the homeless, to get them off of the streets. I hope he gets the money he needs.”

However, not everyone believes that the new plans can make the difference in 3 years. Adam, 28, from Salford said: “I think that it’s very brave that he’s donating part of his salary, but I think the larger problem that keeps people on the streets is the drugs.”

What is for certain however, is that people agree that there is a serious issue in Greater Manchester. Paul, 49, from Salford, added: “There’s just no need for people to be sleeping on the streets in this day and age and especially not in this country.”

If you’d like to get involved, head to https://www.gofundme.com/gm-mayoral-fund to learn more and have a full read of the Mayor’s statement.

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