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Andy Burnham: It’s been so long since he has appeared in a story of national interest that this image is from 2016.

This would be encouraging if it weren’t for the fact that the government’s ‘snapshot’ figures of rough sleeping have been proved false.

So Greater Manchester’s claim to have cut rough sleeping by 44 per cent in two years via its ‘A Bed Every Night’ scheme is questionable.

However: The figures available show fewer people sleeping rough as a result of the scheme – so it seems fair to say that, no matter what the UK Statistics Authority says is the true size of the rough sleeper population, the Greater Manchester model is doing at least some good.

Initially a crisis response to the ‘Beast from the East’ cold weather snap in November 2018, A Bed Every Night has developed as a co-commissioned service with investment from Greater Manchester’s devolved health and social care services, homelessness, and prison and probation services, and has supported 3,400 people since its introduction. The scheme also enables those accessing help and support to recover and move into longer-term accommodation and a life away from the streets – since November 2018, 1,250 people have done just that.

For those who have slept rough for a substantial period of time, Greater Manchester’s Housing First pilot works alongside A Bed Every Night to provide ongoing intensive support in a home of choice. Funded by £7.6m of public money, Housing First in the city-region has so far helped 84 people off the streets into their own homes and is set to run for a further two years.

The scheme seems reminiscent of the ‘Utah’ model that This Site has praised in the past: get people off the streets and support them back into a home of their own, and you relieve pressure on services like the police and NHS that would otherwise have to deal with them.

There is still that question of the real number of rough sleepers.

If that total is genuinely more than five times what the government has claimed, then ‘A Bed Every Night’ may have merely slowed the Tory-driven increase in homelessness.

But that’s better than nothing and suggests that Andy Burnham deserves the extra funding he is requesting. But will he get it?

Source: Mayor calls on Government to help fund A Bed Every Night as rough sleeping down 44% in two years – Greater Manchester Combined Authority

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