Number of rough sleepers in Rochdale borough increases

Date published: 08 November 2019


The number of people sleeping rough on the streets of the Rochdale borough has increased, according to the latest rough sleeper numbers.

With temperatures starting to drop, local outreach teams found 11 people on the borough’s streets, up from the three recorded in November 2018.

Increases in the number of rough sleepers were also noted in Bury, Oldham, Stockport and Trafford.

However, the wider picture across Greater Manchester shows rough sleeping has fallen over the past two years. Reaching a high of 260 in 2017, this has fallen to 195 recorded across the region in September 2019.

More rough sleepers are using emergency accommodation through A Bed Every Night, mayor Andy Burnham’s flagship policy which aims to eradicate rough sleeping in the region by 2020.

All 358 beds offered by A Bed Every Night are currently occupied, but an extra 43 will be provided from November. Manchester and Salford, which have the most rough sleepers across the region, will have the greater share of new beds.

In Rochdale, 12 people are currently using A Bed Every Night, with 15 beds set to be available from 1 November.

Donna Bowler, assistant director of place at Rochdale Borough Council said: “We’re obviously disappointed by these figures. Any one person sleeping on our streets is one person too many and this causes us concern, but we’re working hard with our partners to tackle this pressing issue.

“We recently created a new outreach team to complement the many services we already provide to support people who are on the streets. This team go out into the community at all times of day and night to actively engage with people they see on the street and encourage them to go into overnight accommodation. Our cold weather protocol has also now come into force and this provides additional support and an increase in the number of emergency beds available across the borough between now and the end of March.

“Although getting people into overnight accommodation is a vital first step, it’s only part of the solution to this problem. Supporting people in the long term is crucial. That’s why campaigns like Real Change Rochdale are so important. This project encourages members of the public to donate money online, which is then used to help with practical items for people on the streets, such as clothes for a job interview or a deposit for a flat.

“I would encourage people to find out more and donate to this worthy cause at: realchangerochdale.co.uk.”

Welcoming the overall lower figures over Greater Manchester, Mr Burnham added: “While fewer people are sleeping rough in Greater Manchester than when I came into office, I am not in any way complacent and know so much more needs to be done.

“But these figures show that the commitment of our councils and community organisations is making a real difference, and I want to thank everyone for making A Bed Every Night such a strong response to the homelessness crisis.”

Since launching last November, a total of 2,204 people accessed temporary accommodation through A Bed Every Night.

Of these, 817 have been helped by rough sleeping teams into longer term accommodation. A further 311 have been rehomed through the Social Impact Bond.

The amount of beds available in each district has been agreed on a borough-by-borough basis but councils can, and frequently do, commission more to meet growing demand.

Struggling councils can also accommodate people through statutory temporary accommodation and the Housing First pilot scheme, which has helped to permanently rehouse 33 people.

Mr Burnham said: “Greater Manchester is entering the coming winter with a stronger set of arrangements for people sleeping rough than we have ever had.

“We have more places to stay of a better quality and are well on the way towards our goal of ending the need for rough sleeping.”

Niall Griffith, Local Democracy Reporting Service

Additional reporting: Rochdale Online

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