Burnham back in borough to open homelessness fund

Greater Manchester Mayor Andy Burnham returned to the borough to launch his ambitious bid to end rough sleeping.

Mr Burnham visited The Brick in Wigan town centre to announce his homelessness fund is now open for applications.

Greater Manchester Mayor Andy Burnham at The Brick

Greater Manchester Mayor Andy Burnham at The Brick

Community groups and organisations supporting those sleeping on the streets are invited to apply for grants from the fund, which stands at more than £50,000 thanks to donations from the mayor’s salary and pledges from the public.

The former Leigh MP spoke of his determination to end rough sleeping in the region by 2020 and said he was spurred into action by alarming figures showing increasing homelessness both in Wigan and across Greater Manchester.

He said: “The figures for Wigan are quite troubling. In the last six or seven there has been something like a 400 per cent increase.

“The numbers are still small but the trend is clear.

Tackling rough sleeping is an achievable goal. In this day and age we should be able to put a roof over everyone’s head

Andy Burnham

“I’ve started with tackling rough sleeping because I think it’s an achievable goal and also because in this day and age we should be able to put a roof over everyone’s head.”

Mr Burnham was acompanied to The Brick by Bury South MP Ivan Lewis and Coun Beth Knowles, who will be on the mayoral team tackling homelessness.

They also met staff and volunteers at The Brick to learn about the work day-to-day and how the money might be used to help the services being offered.

Service users also spoke about their experiences of being on the streets.

As well as providing money for existing organisations Mr Burnham also called on residents to help by volunteering, offering buildings which could provide temporary accommodation or support bases or donating items such as food and warm bedding.

He also stressed his focus on homelessness is not about creating new organisations but providing cash to support those already working in the area.

To find out more about the fund or to apply for grants visit www.greatermanchester-ca.gov.uk/homeless-fund-applications