Salford City Council will provide eight new emergency beds along with 20 self-contained homes where people can stay until long-term settled accommodation is found for them.
A new support team will help them overcome any barriers such as finding a deposit, finding accommodation which will take a pet or buying household items to set up home – as well as supporting those still on the streets.
Councillor Tracy Kelly, lead member for housing and neighbourhoods, announced the news after launching Salford’s new Homelessness Strategy, which sets out the city’s plans for the next five years.
Councillor Kelly said:
“This funding will make a real difference to rough sleepers. It’s very welcome as we have seen a 600% rise in the numbers sleeping rough over the last five years.”
Councillor Kelly also called for the whole city to pull together to help rough sleepers and people facing the risk of homelessness, saying only an even greater combined effort from the council, NHS, housing and advice services, community and voluntary organisations and residents could tackle the crisis.
“In the last five years we have seen successes but they have been hard won in the face of funding cuts and more and more pressure being put on the most vulnerable in society because of welfare changes and the national housing crisis.
“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 an increase from 1,357 people presenting as homeless in 2016/17 to 1,634 in 2017/18. 150% increase in
“We’ve worked with local charities and landlords to help people off the streets and into accommodation but we’ve still seen a 600% 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.”
Councillor Kelly said over the next five years Salford would also focus on providing truly affordable homes and encouraging people in financial difficulties to seek help as soon as possible to avoid the risk of defaulting on payments and losing their homes.
“Last year 17% of new homes built or created in Salford last year were affordable, the best rate of provision in Greater Manchester, but we still face a huge shortage of affordable housing. That is something we are addressing with Dérive, our new housing company which will use Section 106 money from private sector developments in the city to provide more social housing let at affordable Salford rents,” she said.
“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. If you set out to deliberately increase homelessness and insecurity, you couldn’t do better with policies like that. Councils like Salford, which has lost half its central funding since 2010, are expected to pick up the pieces and do more and more. We will rise to the challenge as best as we can but this is a national crisis and the government needs to rethink its policies and ease the pressure on vulnerable people.
“That’s why we can only tackle the issue, provide the support and help local people need by all working together. Over the last five years, Salford organisations and people have done that and we need to maintain and strengthen that commitment and joint working even more for the next five years.”
Salford City Council is also supporting Greater Manchester-wide initiatives to eradicate the need for rough sleeping. These include the housing first approach of finding rough sleepers homes and then helping them with other issues and a Greater Manchester-wide social lettings agency, which helps vulnerable people and people on low incomes to find and keep private rented homes.
You can view the new strategy at www.salford.gov.uk/homelessstrategy
Note to editors: Rough sleeping rose from 19 in 2016 to 49 in 2017 as people sleeping in night shelters were also included in the count for the first time.