Num­ber of rough sleep­ers soars by 600pc in 5 years

SAL­FORD COUN­CIL SPEND­ING £308,000 TO FUND NEW SUP­PORT TEAM

Manchester Evening News - - NEWS - By NEAL KEEL­ING

THE num­ber of rough sleep­ers on the streets of Sal­ford has risen by 600 per cent in five years.

The rise - from seven five years ago to 49 in 2017 - is partly be­cause peo­ple in night shel­ters are now counted as rough sleep­ers as well as those on the street.

Now eight emer­gency beds are to be pro­vided to give them refuge.

Twenty self-con­tained homes, where peo­ple can stay un­til longterm set­tled ac­com­mo­da­tion is found, will also be pro­vided as the num­ber of peo­ple pre­sent­ing them­selves as home­less in­creased from 1,357 in 2016/17 to 1,634 in 2017/18.

Two years ago, Sal­ford mayor Paul Den­nett dubbed the home­less­ness cri­sis in Greater Manch­ester ‘a dis­grace’ af­ter spend­ing a night search­ing for rough sleep­ers in freez­ing weather in the early hours.

He found a 19-year-old man who had been sleep­ing in a park for more than three months, and an­other man slip­ping in and out of con­scious­ness, barely cov­ered by a blan­ket in the street.

He de­scribed the ex­er­cise as ‘soul de­stroy­ing.’

The coun­cil is now spend­ing £308,000 of gov­ern­ment cash on the new fa­cil­i­ties, but bosses say it is not nearly enough.

A new sup­port team will soon help home­less peo­ple find a de­posit for ac­com­mo­da­tion and buy house­hold items, as well as sup­port­ing those still on the streets.

Coun­cil­lor Tracy Kelly, lead mem­ber for hous­ing and neigh­bour­hoods, said: “This fund­ing will make a real dif­fer­ence to rough sleep­ers.

“We’ve main­tained and ex­panded ser­vices to young peo­ple and those flee­ing do­mes­tic abuse and helped 2,200 house­holds at risk of be­com­ing home­less to ei­ther stay in their homes or find new ac­com­mo­da­tion. Yet over the same pe­riod Sal­ford has seen a 150 per cent in­crease in the num­ber of peo­ple pre­sent­ing as home­less.

“We’ve worked with lo­cal char­i­ties and land­lords to help peo­ple off the streets and into ac­com­mo­da­tion but we’ve still seen a 600pc in­crease in rough sleep­ers which is why this new fund­ing from the gov­ern­ment’s rough sleep­ers ini­tia­tive is wel­come.

“With­out a lot of hard work by the coun­cil, the sup­port of our part­ner or­gan­i­sa­tions and huge amounts of char­i­ta­ble work by many lo­cal peo­ple those fig­ures would be far worse.”

“This year the gov­ern­ment has in­tro­duced the Home­less­ness Re­duc­tion Act ex­pect­ing councils to give more help to peo­ple at risk of home­less­ness yet the fund­ing they pro­vide for that sup­port is hugely in­ad­e­quate.

“At the same time they are slash­ing fund­ing for pub­lic ser­vices which means we have less and less money to tackle the root causes of home­less­ness and push­ing through sav­age cuts to wel­fare and hous­ing ben­e­fits, par­tic­u­larly for younger peo­ple.

“It’s like be­ing ex­pected to treat a wound which needs surgery with a stick­ing plas­ter and hop­ing all will be well.”

You can view the city’s new home­less strat­egy at www.sal­ford.gov.uk/ home­lessstrat­egy.

Home­less peo­ple sleep­ing on the tow­path un­der East Ord­sall Lane, Sal­ford, in April last year

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