THE BUDGET’S announcement of a new £115m homelessness support package has received a mixed reaction from charities across Greater Manchester.

The Chancellor of the Exchequer, George Osborne, stated in this week’s Budget speech that £115m will be set aside in a drive to get rough sleepers off the nation’s streets.

The money will be used to create 2,000 accommodation places for those ready to move on from homelessness crisis centres.

Prevention projects will also be given financial support.

However, the news has provoked a mixed reaction from homelessness charities across the region where the issue is becoming of increasing concern.

Shelter Housing Databank: Households in temporary accommodation across Greater Manchester (Met County)
Shelter Housing Databank: Households in temporary accommodation across Greater Manchester (Met County)

Michael Fairclough, deputy community leader at charity Emmaus Salford, greeted the announcement with caution.

He said: “Anything that alleviates the problem will be welcomed, but the devil is in the detail.”

Mr Fairclough’s guarded response mirrors that of national charity Shelter which approved the move but explained more needed to be done.

Campbell Robb, chief executive of Shelter, said: “Today’s move by the government to try and stem the devastating rise in street homelessness is overdue but welcome, and goes some way to redress the damaging consequences of previous cuts.”

Mr Robb though stated that more affordable housing was also needed to solve the issue.

He explained: “To eradicate homelessness, the Chancellor can’t simply deal with the symptoms and ignore the root cause.

“So, if he is really serious about fixing things, he needs to take major action on building homes that ordinary people can actually afford to rent or buy.”

Despite these misgivings overall the announcement has been welcomed by homelessness charities.

Chloe Howard, from Manchester’s Albert Kennedy Trust which works with homeless LGBT 16 to 25-year-olds, was delighted by the declaration.

She said: “I think that it is absolutely brilliant.

“With all the cuts it is great to have that money to be able to support the homelessness.”

By Emily Murray

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