Andy Burnham will commit to end rough-sleeping in Greater Manchester by the end of his first term as Mayor.
New figures from the Department for Communities and Local Government show that by September 2016 1,600 children were living in temporary accommodation in Greater Manchester - more than double the number two years earlier.
At an event in Bolton, Burnham will confirm the appointment of Bury South MP and former Minister Ivan Lewis and Manchester City Councillor Beth Knowles, Chair of With One Voice, the international arts and homelessness movement, as co-chairs of the Mayor’s Homelessness Action Network.
Earlier this month, Burnham committed to donating 15 per cent of his mayoral salary to begin a new homelessness fund and will encourage other individuals and organisations across Greater Manchester to also make donations.
The Leigh MP will task Lewis and Knowles to produce a radical plan that ends rough-sleeping during his first term (2017-2020) and allows Greater Manchester to lead the country in reducing homelessness. It will be developed in partnership with third sector organisations, statutory agencies, businesses and those with a personal experience of rough-sleeping and homelessness.
The Network will bring together individuals and organisations and establish a bank of resources, such as properties, food and volunteers, to develop localised solutions to rough-sleeping and homelessness in all parts of Greater Manchester. It will identify how to use existing resources more effectively; identify the financial and policy obstacles to progress; and consider how the fund can attract private sector support.
Andy Burnham will say:
“I am delighted that Ivan and Beth have agreed to Co-Chair this new body and I want to thank them both today.
“Ivan spoke passionately during the selection process about the plight of people sleeping rough on our streets and Beth has a great deal of experience and has done some excellent work in this area.
"Nobody should be without a roof over their heads and a secure place to call home - least of all children. These figures must shock the Government out of its complacency.
“We cannot end homelessness overnight but as Mayor I want to bring together churches, companies and voluntary groups to build a new partnership. This action network marks the start of that new approach and my personal ambition to end rough-sleeping here by the end of the decade.
"What we can seeing on our streets is the human cost of cuts to benefits, mental health, drug and alcohol services and a range of council social care services. We need to help people break out of extremely difficult circumstances and turn their lives around.
"Greater Manchester can do things differently, we don’t have to accept large numbers of people sleeping rough on our streets. Let's make a commitment as a city region that we're going to end this. I want to be Mayor of a Greater Manchester that's a beacon of social justice to the rest of the country."
Ivan Lewis MP said:
“Andy Burnham speaks for all decent people across Greater Manchester when he says ending rough sleeping and reducing homelessness should be a priority for the incoming Mayor. His salary pledge demonstrates a refreshing personal commitment to leading by example.
“I am excited at the prospect of working with Beth and the many excellent existing housing and homelessness organisations to develop a radical plan which will support Andy to put social justice at the heart of his exciting Mayoral vision for Greater Manchester."
Councillor Beth Knowles said:
"Following Andy Burnham's pledge to end rough-sleeping and reduce homelessness across Greater Manchester, I am pleased we have the opportunity to bring together existing best practice and look at new solutions to tackling homelessness across the region. Through the Manchester Homelessness Partnership, we have learnt that progress happens when the city works together - producing collective solutions and ensuring the voices of people with lived experience are heard.”