The newly elected Mayor of Greater Manchester, Andy Burnham, has launched a Homelessness Fund aimed at ending rough sleeping in the city region by 2020. And he’s putting his own money behind the scheme.
On his first day in his new position, the Labour mayor created the Greater Manchester Mayor’s Homelessness Fund, pledging to donate 15 per cent of his £110,000 salary to the new fund.
I have made ending rough sleeping across the city region by 2020 one of my top Mayoral priorities
The charity Shelter estimates that more than 3,200 people are homeless in Greater Manchester. The latest figures also suggest the number of people sleeping rough in Manchester has increased ten-fold since 2010, with an 11 per cent rise in the last year.
“Greater Manchester has been fortunate enough to witness some of the fastest economic growth nationally over the past decade, but alongside this we have seen a growing inequality which damages us all,” said Burnham, who won a decisive victory with 63 per cent of the vote to become the region’s first directly elected mayor.
“Rough sleeping and homelessness are not inevitable consequences of a 21st-century economy. We all have a duty to ensure no one is forced to spend a night on the streets and every Greater Mancunian has a stable place to call home.
“That is why I have made ending rough sleeping across the city region by 2020 one of my top Mayoral priorities.”
In total, more than 92,000 people have sold The Big Issue since 1991 to help themselves work their way out of poverty – more than could fit into Wembley Stadium.
The Mayor’s Fund will operate as a Community Foundation, and will support local frontline projects tackling rough sleeping in Greater Manchester.
They have highlighted three areas they are keen to fund.
- 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 rebuilding community mental health support, recovery-led accommodation and arts programmes.
- Bringing empty properties back in to use for people threatened with becoming homeless.
Councillor Beth Knowles has been appointed by the Mayor to lead his work on tackling rough sleeping and homelessness. She said: “The fact that Andy is launching this new homelessness fund on his first day as our Mayor demonstrates his personal commitment to making this a top priority. He tasked me with starting work on bringing the Greater Manchester Homelessness Action Network together four months ago so we could hit the ground running from day one.
“This is day one. By listening to people who have experienced homelessness from the beginning we’re starting as we mean to go on, developing a plan of action to reduce homelessness alongside councils, charities and, crucially, people who have experienced homelessness.”
On the fundraising page, Burnham stressed the need for the community to get involved in tackling homelessness.
“I will provide leadership, but I need your help. As citizens, businesspeople, community organisations, you can help by donating a proportion of your salary, a one off amount or goods such as furniture (as required by local organisations),” he wrote.
“We are also keen to hear from people who can donate unused building space or organisations which have skills and expertise they wish to offer.”
Contribute to the Greater Manchester Mayor’s Homelessness Fund here.