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Burnham announces 'radical' homelessness plan

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Greater Manchester mayor Andy Burnham has announced a “radical” plan to end rough sleeping in the region by 2020, including an enhanced role for the private sector.

Mr Burnham said Greater Manchester is the first combined authority to bring together public bodies with the faith, community and business sectors under one plan to reduce rough sleeping.

Tackling homelessness was one of Mr Burnham’s key election pledges and he promised to donate 15% of his mayoral salary to support services.

The strategy announced today builds on the work of the Greater Manchester Homelessness Network, which was set up soon after the mayor took office in May last year.

The approach is based on “four Rs” - reduction, respite, recovery and reconnection - and underpinned by a 37-point action plan.

These objectives include identifying people who are at risk of becoming homeless, providing safe accommodation and supporting people to stabilise their lives and take part in community life.

The first business network of its kind in the country has also been launched to develop private-sector solutions to rough sleeping.

The aim is to encourage 200 businesses to sign up to the network, which will be chaired by the co-owner of Manchester-based property developer Capital & Centric, Tim Heatley.

Mr Burnham said recent progress had been made to reduce homelessness, with £9m secured to provide accommodation and emergency support.

He added: “The private sector’s role is vital, which is why this groundbreaking network is so important.

“As well as providing the kind of business sense that can lead to innovative solutions, they also have access to resources and places which can help provide respite care and help us accelerate progress.”

Implementation of the plan will be monitored by a range of bodies, including academics, charities and policy experts.

Official figures published last month show rough sleeping grew in Greater Manchester by 42% between 2015-16 and 2016-17, compared to a 15% increase nationally.

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