Main party leaders to commit to tackling homelessness

Andy Burnham has challenged party leaders to commit to taking immediate steps to tackle the homelessness crisis and save lives this winter.

The Mayor of Greater Manchester, and former Labour leadership contender, has written to party leaders outlining a number of actions which could make a real difference in addressing the humanitarian crisis across the country. These include: ending the freeze on the Local Housing Allowance with immediate effect, to ensure it keeps pace with the increase in local rents; ending no-fault evictions; abolishing the no recourse to public funds policy; and provide emergency funding to operate Greater Manchester’s A Bed Every Night scheme across all of England this winter and into 2020.

An estimated 726 homeless people died in England and Wales last year, many of whom will have slept rough on our streets. This represents a 22 per cent increase on the figure for 2017.

Homelessness charity Shelter estimates that rates of rough sleeping across England and Wales have increased 165 per cent since 2010. Bucking national trends, the number of people sleeping rough in Greater Manchester has fallen, opposing previous trends of increases since 2010.

Burnham said: “More than 700 homeless people died last year but this human tragedy has not had the attention it deserves in the General Election campaign. In this day and age British people should not be dying on our streets for want of a roof over their heads. So today, I have written to party leaders about immediate steps a new Prime Minister and government should take to save lives this winter.

“Thousands are volunteering their time to help homeless people and before casting their votes people need to know that the party leaders will take action to tackle homelessness and rough sleeping. Here in Greater Manchester we have made great progress in reducing the numbers of people sleeping rough on our streets but much more needs to be done at national level. Homelessness shames our society and our duty to care for all citizens. We need a government that will listen to what is needed and deliver on commitments to end rough sleeping.”