Up to 200 of Greater Manchester’s most entrenched rough sleepers will be helped off the streets and supported to build a new life by a partnership made up of Greater Manchester housing providers, private rented sector partners, social investment partners and voluntary sector delivery partners, which has today been awarded a £1.8m Social Impact Bond (SIB) to deliver long-term change for some of the region’s most vulnerable homeless people.

The consortium has been put together by One Manchester and Trafford Housing Trust, two Greater Manchester-based housing providers, and Bridges Fund Management, which manages funds on behalf of a range of impact-driven investors, including Greater Manchester Pension Fund.

This project will be the largest of the Department for Communities and Local Government’s ‘Entrenched Rough Sleeping’ SIBs. A three-year programme will now be delivered to tackle rough sleeping through the GM Homes Partnership, a newly established partnership dedicated to this challenge.

While there have been periods of significant reductions in homelessness over the years, the issue of entrenched rough sleeping – defined for the purposes of the programme as individuals who have slept rough at least six times in the past two years and/or are well known to homelessness services – has never been fully addressed.

It is hoped the programme will provide the wraparound support needed to enable individuals to sustain a tenancy in one of 270 homes to be made available by 15 of Greater Manchester’s housing providers and two private rented sector partners. A second chance philosophy will help to remove some of the current barriers for individuals who might previously have lost tenancies to access suitable accommodation with delivery partners Shelter, Great Places and The Brick ensuring individuals receive the intensive emotional and practical support they need to access appropriate and bespoke health, training and employment services.

Dave Power, Group Chief Executive of One Manchester, said: “I know I’m not alone in being shocked to see the numbers of people sleeping rough rising in Manchester so we absolutely must pull together to address this.

“Our ultimate aim is to ensure people who have found themselves back on the street time and again have the chance to start a new life in the right kind of home with the right support.

“This funding enables us to do this by responding to the individual circumstances which lead people to a life of sleeping rough. This is a hugely important initiative and we are ready to take action, now. Thanks to this collaborative approach we have an opportunity to make a real and lasting difference to people’s lives by providing the right kind of tailored support.”

Andrew Levitt, Partner and Head of Social Impact Bonds at Bridges, said: “Outcomes-based contracts are the best way to work with this very vulnerable group, because they give charities the freedom to take a very flexible approach – tailoring their support to the individual’s abilities and needs, as well as the changing dynamics of the local housing market. We’re passionate about this programme and the impact it can have in changing the lives of rough sleepers.”

John Ryan, who runs Shelter’s Manchester hub, said: “The Greater Manchester Homes Partnership is a great opportunity for us to work collaboratively with a range of partners to reach even more people across the city who urgently need our support. The partnership will help end the devastating scourge of street homelessness, which is one of the Mayor’s priorities, and we are delighted to be part of it.”

The programme is part of a wider approach to tackling homelessness in the region, which Greater Manchester Mayor, Andy Burnham, has pledged to eradicate. For more information about this visit https://www.greatermanchester-ca.gov.uk/info/20000/housing_planning_and_homelessness.

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