Salford Council has launched a new commission to tackle the rising tide of homelessness in the city.
The ‘No Place to Call Home’ initiative will bring together people who have experienced homelessness with Salford City Council and other organisations after the homeless problem in the Greater Manchester has been criticised by officials for ‘spiralling out of control’ in recent years.
The motion plans to build on the groundswell of support for the government’s Homelessness Prevention Bill currently being debated in the House of Lords, and aims to become a key part of Salford Council’s anti-poverty strategy.
And Councillor Paul Longshaw, lead member for housing and neighbourhoods, also revealed that plans are being finalised to offer 19 temporary beds which will provide nearly 7,000 extra nights shelter per year.
The Council has approved an initial one year contract with Riverside Housing Group to provide the beds through an existing supported housing scheme in the city.
It will provide accommodation for increasing numbers of single homeless people who are currently being housed in expensive bed and breakfast accommodation –reducing the cost to the council by £143.000 and will help them to find work, education or training, improve their health and move on to permanent housing.
Councillor Longshaw said: “The homelessness situation is a national crisis, which is getting worse and worse with a shortage of affordable homes and a system that is failing people leaving them sleeping rough or in unsuitable, unsettled temporary accommodation.”
“We need everyone in Salford– housing associations, councils, charities, community groups, advice services and health organisations to work together and look at this in the round.
“If we can get timely advice and the right support in place we can prevent people becoming homeless while working to address the housing shortage and help people on the streets.”
The initiative is the latest in a series of measures by the council to cut homelessness in Salford. In 2016 they provided funding to keep Salford Women’s Aid Centre open and have worked closely with Salix Homes to provide cold weather shelters and more temporary housing to rough sleepers.
Salford Mayor Paul Dennett took to the streets in November with MP Rebecca Long-Bailey to assess the scale of the homelessness crisis and branded what he saw an ‘absolute disgrace’, claiming it is important that politicians “get out there and see the problem for themselves”.
The commission will start at the end of April.