£5m to house 1,000 rough sleepers in Manchester

Andy Burnham has announced an urgent humanitarian response to house 1,000 people in hotels and provide them with essential services to help them during the coronavirus crisis.

Following a meeting of the Greater Manchester COVID-19 Emergency Committee, and backed with £5 million of funding to be used with immediate effect, the Mayor of Greater Manchester said that 625 hotels rooms have been made available to house the city-region’s rough sleeping population and those in shared hostels to help protect them from the risks posed by coronavirus and allow them to self-isolate. A further 375 hotel rooms are being sourced in the next 48 hours.

The move to accommodate hundreds of homeless people in hotel rooms is a recognition of the vulnerability of many rough sleepers and homeless people in shared accommodation spaces, and their need for support and a safe place to stay at this difficult time.

Officials estimate that roughly 1,000 individuals will require hotel rooms in Greater Manchester, including 720 who will have moved out of shared emergency accommodation and an estimated 280 who might be expected to slept rough over the 12 week period initially proposed for the scheme.

Ending rough sleeping has been Burnham’s key priority since becoming Mayor, with official figures highlighting success in the area, with latest data identifying 151 people sleeping outdoors, a decrease of nearly 50 per cent in just two years.

Burnham said: “I’m announcing extensive plans to support people sleeping rough and in shared temporary accommodation in our city-region as a matter of urgency – this is our humanitarian response at a time of a national public health crisis. The negative impact street homelessness can have on a person’s mental and physical health is well known, and that is before you take into account the very real risks posed by possibly catching coronavirus.

“We have moved swiftly to work with our 10 local authorities, NHS and the private and faith sectors to source enough accommodation in some of our city-region’s large hotels for everyone who needs it. We are assisting some people accommodated in A Bed Every Night into these rooms while others are being supported from the streets or from situations where they are experiencing an imminent risk of sleeping rough. We will provide essential services of food, access to medicines, targeted support and somewhere safe to stay during an incredibly challenging time for them.”