Next steps for Manchester's homelessness strategy

  • Tuesday 5 March 2024

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Manchester City Council and Manchester Homelessness Partnership have met to develop a detailed Action Plan, the next step in the city's vision to ending homelessness.

The Manchester Homelessness and Rough Sleeping strategy document was launched in December. It sets out how - over the next three years - the council will work together with partners from across the sectors to tackle homelessness. Improved access to services is the golden thread that sits across the four key principles:

  • increasing prevention
  • reducing rough sleeping
  • sourcing more suitable and affordable accommodation
  • supporting better lives.

Meeting for the first time last week to develop the detailed road map, which will outline how each sector will tackle the issues associated with homelessness, was the new chair of the Manchester Homelessness Partnership, Reverend Cate Allison, who has just taken on the role previously held by the Bishop of Manchester the Rt Rev David Walker.

Manchester's strategy recognises that the government holds the most significant power in reducing the causes of homelessness through legislation, policies and funding. The strategy contains a number of asks from the city to Westminster and Whitehall. These include:

  • Immediately unfreezing Local Housing Allowance, to enable more people on benefits to afford to rent homes – planned for next month. 
  • Bringing forward the long-promised ban on no fault (Section 21) evictions. 
  • Lifting the existing benefit cap and under-occupancy charge, which reduces the maximum amount of rent people can have covered by Universal Credit or housing benefit 
  • Funding councils and registered housing providers to build more social rent homes to ease the housing crisis 
  • Paying Manchester City Council’s Homelessness Prevention Grant in line with the agreed formula. If the Government had funded Manchester’s HPG in line with its published formula, the Council would have had £1.8 million more in 23/24 to tackle the issue.   
  • Ensure councils are adequately funded to meet local demands and pressures 
  • The strategy also calls on Greater Manchester Combined Authority - which already adds value to the work of the area’s council through schemes such as A Bed Every Night -  to help put the cause to Government to increase the Homelessness Prevention Grant and lead a funded programme to help bring long-term empty properties back into residential use. 

Councillor Joanna Midgley, Deputy Leader of Manchester City Council said today:

"I know the scale of the task in front of us is huge, but we are fortunate in Manchester to have dedicated, caring and committed organisations that work together in a city approach. We all share the same vision to help people who are at risk of or experiencing homelessness and to do everything possible to prevent it in the first place.

There is no magic wand because we are doing this in the face of a national cost of living and housing crises, and we need government to play its part, but what we do can also make a marked difference to the lives of some of our most vulnerable residents.

Tackling inequality and placing greater emphasis on the impact of homelessness on children and families are key elements of our strategy and the outcome of our action plans will have a positive impact on tackling homelessness head on and supporting residents to maintain or find a place to call home.

I'm looking forward to working with Rev Cate Allison as the new chair of the Manchester Homelessness Partnership and would like to thank the outgoing chair for his commitment, dedication and compassion to helping in our ambition to eradicate homelessness in the city."

Rev Cate Allison, Chair of the Manchester Homelessness Partnership said:

“Manchester Homelessness Partnership welcomes this co-produced strategy that builds on our partnership work with the council and recognises the role and the value of voluntary and community organisations who are working with people and families who are homeless or facing homelessness. Improved access to services for women, men and children must be focused on ensuring people are safe, and treated with kindness and compassion.”

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