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  1. ITV Report

Numbers of rough sleepers in the region falls

Rough sleeping figures are down Credit: PA

New official figures show that the number of people sleeping rough in the North West has fallen.

The statistics indicate that over the year from 2018 to 2019 the number fell from 428 to 349, with 79 fewer people living on the streets., or an 18 percent drop.

This mirrors the national trend where information from The Ministry of Housing, Communities and Local Government which estimated that 4,266 people were sleeping rough across the UK on a single night in autumn 2019.

The figure is down 411 on the previous year - a drop of 9% - and down 10% on the peak of 2017.

However the total is still 2,498 higher than when the figures were first introduced in 2010 - an increase of 141%.

The homelessness charity St Mungo's said the figures are "simply not good enough" and called on the Government to invest an extra £1 billion a year in services for the homeless.

The latest snapshot came as Boris Johnson announced £236 million in additional funding to provide "move on" accommodation for up to 6,000 rough sleepers.

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Greater Manchester Mayor Andy Burnham Credit: PA

The Mayor of Greater Manchester, Andy Burnham, is calling on the Government to help fund A Bed Every Night scheme which is running in the city region.

He also says that the Greater Manchester figure of 151 people across all 10 boroughs is a significant reduction, and mars the lowest in the city-region since 2015.

Mr Burnham says the reduction of 37 percent over the last year represents a greater reduction than other comparable city-regions, which he credits to A Bed Every Night which delivered by a combination of the public, private, third and faith sectors.

It is time Westminster acknowledged our pioneering work and made our policies the nationwide strategy for tackling rough sleeping. Homelessness is a crisis in this country but in Greater Manchester we have a blueprint for success, one that has helped hundreds off the streets in just a few years. But it is simply unsustainable for the government to expect local authorities and others, 10 years into a period of austerity and swingeing cuts to councils’ budgets, to fund solutions ourselves.

Government must also review their existing ‘No Recourse to Public Funds’ policy and its impact on destitution and rough sleeping, properly address the four year freeze on the Local Housing Allowances in the forthcoming Budget and put a stop to no-fault evictions. In addition, Government’s 'Right to Buy' policy is a major contributory factor and must be suspended. Urgent action is required to tackle the real causes of the housing, homelessness and rough sleeping crisis.

– Paul Dennett, City Mayor of Salford and Greater Manchester’s Lead on Homelessness and Housing

It is a moral scandal that in 2020 so many people continue to sleep rough on the streets, and that is why I am determined to end the blight of rough sleeping by the end of this Parliament.

This confirms what I have seen since becoming Housing Secretary - that dedicated, targeted support backed by unparalleled levels of Government support is getting vulnerable people off the streets and into safe accommodation where they can turn their lives around.

– Housing Secretary Robert Jenrick

Any apparent fall in street sleeping is welcome, but everyone knows these misleading statistics are an unreliable undercount of the true scale of the problem.

Ministers won't fix the crisis of rough sleeping until they deal with the root causes of the problem, which means facing up to the impact of deep cuts to housing, social security and homelessness services since 2010.

– John Healey, Shadow Housing Secretary