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5th March 2020

Number of rough sleepers in Manchester falls by over a third in 12 months

The report shows the influence of Manchester’s ‘A Bed Every Night’ scheme on homelessness
Number of rough sleepers in Manchester falls by over a third in 12 months
Photo: Flickr @ Garry Knight

Figures show the number of people sleeping rough in the city-region has fallen 37% in a year and almost 50% in two.

The numbers are part of a nationwide rough sleeper count. Its results are based on a one night snapshot. Between November 2018 and November 2019, the number of those sleeping rough in Manchester fell by 90, the lowest figure recorded since 2015.

The figures are the result of a boom in charity work. In particular, Manchester’s ‘A Bed Every Night’ scheme is responsible. The scheme enables people to access help and move into long-term accommodation. Initially a response to the ‘Beast from the East’ that struck in November 2018, it has supported 3,400 people since.

Andy Burnham, Machester’s mayor since 2017, commended the compassion of Mancunians, saying: “Tonight in Greater Manchester around 450 people will be in shelters across our 10 boroughs – this is only happening because Greater Manchester has pulled together and raised funds to help people sleeping rough, alongside the goodwill of hundreds of volunteers.

“These figures suggest our approach is working and that the country could end this crisis much more quickly and save lives if the government was to help us fund A Bed Every Night and adopt it more widely.

“But we now also need a much greater focus on the causes of homelessness – since 2016 housing benefit has not kept pace with rent increases. It is not enough for Government to end the freeze – they must now restore benefits to levels of actual rents.”

The figures come days after the government pledged to reduce homelessness by investing an extra £236m. Efforts to tackle the homelessness crisis are increasing. Sustained investment is required to reserve ongoing trends, which saw rough sleeping increase by 488% in Manchester since 2010.

It is important to note that these statistics represent one night and neglect forms of homelessness that don’t manifest as rough sleeping.

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