Number of rough sleepers soars by 600pc in 5 years
SALFORD COUNCIL SPENDING £308,000 TO FUND NEW SUPPORT TEAM
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