THE Mayor of Greater Manchester Andy Burnham has today announced new grants from his homelessness fund, after spending the morning talking to rough sleepers about their needs.
Andy, who has called for an end to rough-sleeping in Greater Manchester by 2020, is personally committed to dramatically reducing homelessness in the region. He puts 15 per cent of his salary into the fund each month and made his latest donation today.
Today he has also announced a £20,000 grant to the charity Stop, Start, Go (SSG) which is creating brand new accommodation for rough-sleepers in Manchester who are ready to seek employment. A further £3,500 grant was also approved for charity Emmaus who will use the money to teach homeless people trades to create an extra bedroom for rough sleepers in Bolton.
Andy said: “I am personally committed to this. I am putting my own money into the fund and I have been overwhelmed by the number of people who have done the same. Together I absolutely believe we can end rough sleeping and put a roof over everyone’s head in Greater Manchester.
“This morning I went into the city centre at daybreak to talk to those sleeping rough. I want to hear from them about their experiences and get their ideas about what is needed. I will do that every three months to reassure myself and everyone else who contributes to the fund that the money is being spent on real solutions and improvements that make a difference. I want to meet people on the streets and make sure we’re connected our work with what they need. I want to see a reduction in the number of people sleeping rough for myself.”
Andy launched the Mayor of Greater Manchester’s Homelessness Fund on his first day in office on May 8, 2017, and has raised more than £50,000 with more than 500 individual pledges and donations from local people and organisations over the past three months.
His first grants were awarded in June to charities from across Greater Manchester and the second grant announcements today total more than £25,000.
Andy added: “We are really doing something so worthwhile together and I do believe we can make such a difference to people living on our streets – but with these latest grants we have almost wiped the fund out. To do more, we need more. I know everyone from children donating their pocket money to pensioners bringing money into our offices has got us this far – I want to say thank you to everyone who has got involved. If you can help us now in any way, I promise I will personally make sure it goes directly towards helping people turn their lives around.”
The SSG grant is part of a £300,000 project to provide accommodation for rough-sleepers looking for employment. The remainder of the funding for the project is being supported by Manchester City Council and the Edward Holt Trust.
In Bolton, the £3,500 grant to Emmaus will create an additional bed for rough sleepers in the town by training homeless people in building trades and asking them to create the room.
Andy concluded: “I am so pleased with how far we have come in just two short months. I feel really passionate about tackling this and I am proud that local people believe that is the right thing to do too. If you can spare any amount – however large or small – it will go straight to organisations who are supporting rough-sleepers and homeless people across Greater Manchester. Please also bear in mind the Big Change fund which helps individual homeless people and rough-sleepers to get back on their feet.”