GM Mayor announces £5m fund to protect rough sleepers

Andy Burnham, Mayor of Greater Manchester, has announced a £5m fund to house 1000 of the region’s most vulnerable people with immediate effect.

Following a meeting of the Greater Manchester COVID-19 Emergency Committee, an ‘urgent humanitarian response’ has been made by the Mayor to protect individuals from the coronavirus crisis.

625 hotel rooms have been made available, with 375 more currently being soured, for rough sleepers in the area and people currently living in shared hostels, to limit the spread of coronavirus by providing them with the means to self-isolate.

The city region has been working on ending rough sleeping with the successful A Bed Every Night scheme, which provides emergency accommodation agree Greater Manchester.

A decrease of nearly 50% of rough sleeping has been recorded over a two-year period. However, this type of accommodation normally consists of shared spaces such as bedrooms and kitchens, which makes self-isolation very difficult.

Mayor Andy Burnham said:

“I’m announcing extensive plans to support people sleeping rough and in shared temporary accommodation in our city-region as a matter of urgency – this is our humanitarian response at a time of a national public health crisis.

“The negative impact street homelessness can have on a person’s mental and physical health is well known, and that is before you take into account the very real risks posed by possibly catching coronavirus.

“We have moved swiftly to work with our 10 local authorities, NHS and the private and faith sectors to source enough accommodation in some of our city-region’s large hotels for everyone who needs it. We are assisting some people accommodated in A Bed Every Night into these rooms while others are being supported from the streets or from situations where they are experiencing an imminent risk of sleeping rough. We will provide essential services of food, access to medicines, targeted support and somewhere safe to stay during an incredibly challenging time for them.”

Mobile phones will be supplied in some cases for rough sleepers who need to remain in contact with their support workers, protecting the workers health at this time as well.


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