Manchester City Council and members of the Manchester Homelessness Partnership have confirmed arrangements to help people sleeping on the streets move into accommodation as the nights draw in.
Every year during the colder winter months, Manchester City Council expands its accommodation provision with additional help for people street sleeping over and above the year-round services that are always available.
The approach echoes last year’s, which saw people brought into accommodation for as long as they need it. This year the focus will continue to be on offering accommodation and support to vulnerable people to help them rebuild their lives until they are ready to move to more permanent accommodation.
This year the additional extended accommodation will start a month earlier – from Tuesday 1 November- and will continue through the winter months. It will include space for over 50 people with en-suite rooms in an ex-hotel outside the city centre. The bed spaces can be accessed through a referral system.
These bed spaces will be offered to people who have been identified by partners and outreach teams as high priority, who have been on the streets for a long time and meet the criteria as set by the Homelessness Partnership. The Booth Centre, Cornerstone and Coffee4Craig will be helping those sleeping on the streets by providing support and managing referral hubs in the daytime and evenings.
To enable the city’s winter plans to run smoothly, the Council is helping to fund this scheme along with funding from the government. In addition to this, multiple agencies across the city- including those who are members of the Homelessness partnership- will come together to support those sleeping rough.
GMMH (Greater Manchester Mental Health) will provide specialist mental health support on-site. Other organisations such as Change Go Live, MASH, Centrepoint, and the Boaz Trust will all also provide on-site support to those on the scheme. Urban Village Medical Practice will administer Covid and flu vaccinations to people staying there.
A wide range of other beds spaces are available for people who street sleep through the A Bed Every Night Scheme. The spaces are jointly funded by Manchester City Council and Greater Manchester Combined Authority.
In recent months Manchester City Council along with Salford Council, has commissioned a new service specifically for women. Delivered by Depaul and MASH, this will provide accommodation and support for women with a history of street sleeping and complex support needs.
Councillor Joanna Midgley, Deputy Leader of Manchester City Council said:
“Manchester has made strong progress on reducing street sleeping and we are determined to maintain that despite the challenge of the cost of living crisis.
"No one has to be out on the streets. This winter provision is an extension to what is available all year round. The extended provision means that we can assist more people sleeping on the streets who will accept our help.
"We know that as the weather gets colder some of the more difficult-to-reach people who are rough sleeping are more likely to take up an offer of help . Once we've got them in out of the cold we can provide further support and start looking at longer term options to help them move forwards.
"Reducing street sleeping is only part of the story. We are also increasing our emphasis on preventing people becoming homeless in the first place, giving those facing homelessness options other than temporary accommodation and sustainably reducing the numbers in such accommodation.
“Every year people across the city come together to facilitate our work and help those who are sleeping on the streets. I’d like to thank the volunteers and members of public who are dedicating their time to this scheme and supporting the fantastic work of partners and charities across the city.”
Paul Newcombe Chief exec of the Booth Centre, one of the organisations involved the Manchester Homelessness Partnership said:
“Its really important that all the organisations in the City pull together and pool resources throughout the colder periods of the year, this would typically start with lots of planning throughout the summer months so we're ready when it gets colder. In Manchester we make sure there's accommodation and support available from November until March. Our collective aim is that no one needs be outside through the winter period. We know that this big push can save lives and that it helps support people of the streets and onto more permanent positive pathways.
“The city's cold weather response is being delivered through an expansive public, voluntary and community/charity sector partnership involving Barnabus, The Booth Centre, Coffee 4 Craig, Centrepoint, The Men's Room, On the Out, Reach Out to the Community, MASH, Shelter, Boaz Trust, Greater Manchester Mental Health Services, Change Grow Live, ABEN Providers, Greater Manchester Combined Authority, Urban Village Medical Practice, Street Engagement Hub, Caritas, Greater Manchester Police alongside the Council.”
Anyone who is worried about someone sleeping on the streets can alert the Council through this link: www.streetlink.org.uk