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Rough sleeping in Tameside down for the first time in six years
Thursday 31st January 2019 @ 09:30 by Tom Greggan
Greater Manchester News Tameside

The number of rough sleepers in Tameside has fallen for the first time in six years.

Official government figures published today show that, on the night of the national rough sleeper count last November, there were 36 people sleeping on the streets of Tameside, down from 43 in 2017.

That 16% decrease is the first recorded reduction in rough sleepers in the borough since none were recorded in 2012, which was down from 7 in 2011.

However, the 36 rough sleepers is still a 300% increase from the nine who were recorded in 2010.

Rough sleeping across the Greater Manchester city-region has fallen by 10%, which is the first drop in numbers in eight years. Seven of the ten boroughs saw a reduction; Oldham’s figures remain the same while Manchester and Bolton saw an increase.

But rough sleeping is still up 487% across the city-region from 2010.

Rough sleeping figures per borough, 2010-18.

The Mayor of Greater Manchester, Andy Burnham, has pledged to end the need for rough sleeping by 2020. Welcoming the figures, he said: “Tackling rough sleeping in Greater Manchester remains a huge challenge- our approach can always improve but I am confident that for the first time in a long time, real progress is being made.

“We are helping people turn their lives around and in many cases saving them. These figures show that in Greater Manchester, the tide is turning.”

Since the start of November, the Mayor’s ‘A Bed Every Night’ campaign has helped 1,236 people into safe, warm and supported accommodation.

Supported by local authorities and supplemented by donations, A Bed Every Night is the first step off the street for many of the city-region’s homeless and is currently funded to run to the end of March.

The national rough sleeper count takes place every year on one night in November. This year, the count took place in the early hours of Friday November 16. The figures give the best indication of the number of rough sleepers on the streets, although it is generally accepted that the actual number is likely to be higher.

Greater Manchester Mayor Andy Burnham chats to a rough sleeper.

However, the figures do provide solid evidence of a reduction and Andy Burnham says he thinks the number of rough sleepers may have dropped further since the count.

Andy Burnham added: “This winter, through A Bed Every Night, we are the only city-region in the UK working to provide a beds across all our boroughs to meet demands for accommodation and support. We think that since the official count, the number of people on our streets has still dropped further.

“The fact that more than 200 people are still sleeping rough in our city-region in this day and age is completely unacceptable and there is still much work to do. This is a humanitarian crisis, not of our own making, and there is no easy solution.

“We are leading the way on this issue in Greater Manchester. In contrast to many other cities’ and city-regions’ figures, our numbers have declined over the past 12 months, the first time that has happened here since 2010. I call on Government to recognise the success of our strategy and adopt it as the nationwide approach to tackling rough sleeping.”