It is a year since the GM Homes Partnership was launched – a collaboration between organisations including the Greater Manchester Housing Providers, Bridges Fund Management and Trafford Housing Trust and delivery partners Shelter, The Brick and Great Places – with the aim of tackling homelessness.
So far, the initiative has supported 250 people into accommodation across Greater Manchester, giving them wrap around support including with mental health and addiction issues.
The partnership is working with entrenched rough sleepers (individuals who have slept rough at least six times in the past two years and/or are well known to homelessness services) over a three-year period.
The aim is to get them off the streets and help them build a new life, providing the intensive emotional and practical support they need and helping them to access appropriate health, training and employment services.
The initiative includes programmes designed to prevent people becoming homeless, and to provide support quickly if they do become homeless.
“The people who make this initiative a success are the people who have been through it,” said Mayor Andy Burnham at an event to celebrate the first year of the partnership.
“This could happen to any one of us, we’re all just a few bits of bad luck away. But the people in the organisations involved are passionate people, doing more than just a job, and that shines through.”
Many participants have also been helped into volunteering, education and work placements, including Jason, who has been helped by the partnership through homeless charity Shelter.
“My support worker, Catherine, she knows what my hobbies and my interests are, and she came up with an idea for me,” said Jason.
“She said ‘there’s an opportunity at Trafford Housing Trust, if you’re interested’. Now I’m upcycling furniture, recycling it, working with my hands and it’s something I love doing.
“I’ve taken that opportunity with both hands, and it’s like all my Christmases have rolled into one. I want to prove to them that I can be an asset to the company, and hopefully they’ll employ me.”
One year into the programme, the GM Homes Partnership has another two years of support to give.
They say the focus for the next stage of the programme is addressing the systemic issues across Greater Manchester that may be contributing to homelessness and rough sleeping, and using evidence, co-production and learning to influence commissioning and identify new solutions.
It will continue to work in partnership with health, housing and justice strategies to integrate services and break down barriers for individuals trapped in the system, working towards prevention whilst continuing to support participants to move forward and realise their potential.