Councillor Jim Battle: Questions for the municipal year to August 2013
Rachael Grant, who lives and works in Manchester, asked:
What is being done to help the growing number of homeless people who are in Manchester ?
The number of people begging seems to have increased a lot over the past year or so.
Councillor Jim Battle, Deputy Leader replied:
The Council has a number of arrangements in place to help people who are rough sleeping. We work with a number of statutory and voluntary sector agencies throughout the year to ensure services are available to those who find themselves in this situation.
The main outreach service in the city is Counted In, which is provided by ECHG Riverside. However, during the winter months we put additional resources in place to help people move off the streets as quickly as possible. This is the Cold Weather Project (CWP) and it operates from November until March each year. CWP workers have access to a number of emergency bed places in supported accommodation schemes across the city. These are set aside so that rough sleepers can be moved off the streets as quickly as possible. Services do not just provide a bed, but will work with rough sleepers to provide support to ensure that they do not return to the streets again. When the weather is extremely cold, as it has been recently, we fund additional rooms in bed and breakfast hotels as necessary.
For those constituents who are concerned about people they see sleeping rough there is a service currently operating across Greater Manchester. This is called No Second Night Out and it provides a 24 hour referral line for members of the public to report rough sleepers so that agencies can get to them as soon as possible.
More details of the project - including contact numbers and other means of making a referral - can be found at the NSNO website:
As far as begging is concerned the City Council employs two workers whose role is to work with people who are street homeless and begging. They are also closely linked to the services mentioned above. A group of agencies meets on a regular basis to ensure this work is coordinated. We also work with Greater Manchester Police (GMP) in a coordinated way to tackle begging, particularly aggressive begging. Whilst it is the case that some rough sleepers beg most beggars are not in fact homeless and the actual act of begging is in fact illegal. The City Council and GMP will shortly be launching a publicity campaign to raise awareness about begging and will offer the public an alternative way of donating money rather than giving it directly to people who beg.
17 May 2013