Andy Burnham, the newly elected Mayor of Greater Manchester, has announced the establishment of a fund to help the homeless on his first day in office.
According to Burnham’s statement on its GoFundMe page, the Greater Manchester Mayor’s Homelessness Fund will support frontline projects that can demonstrate they are supporting the Mayor’s objective to end rough sleeping and reduce homelessness by 2020 through initiatives such as:
- Building specialised supported accommodation for young people with access to education, volunteering and employment opportunities.
- Expanding mental health and rehabilitation programmes across Greater Manchester, including re-building community mental health support, recovery-led accommodation and arts programmes.
- Bringing empty properties back in to use for people threatened with becoming homeless.
Burnham has already donated £1,375 and has said he will donate 15% of his Mayoral salary to kickstart the fund, which has been set up by Crisis and has a target of £100,000 on its GoFundMe page. So far the fund has raised almost £8,000 from 264 people in four days, and according to Burnham, will ultimately operate as a community foundation.
The Mayor has also announced that he is creating a Greater Manchester Homelessness Action Network, consisting of: ‘charities, people who have experienced homelessness, businesses, faith groups, civil society and the region’s local authorities, to share best practice, develop new solutions and progress in the same direction to tackle homelessness across Greater Manchester.’
On the GoFundMe page, Burnham calls for support from individuals, community groups and businesses, saying:
‘You can help by donating a proportion of your salary, a one off amount or goods such as furniture (as required by local organisations). We are also keen to hear from people who can donate unused building space or organisations which have skills and expertise they wish to offer.’
Distribution of resources will be decided by the fund’s trustees, which include people who have experienced homelessness in Greater Manchester, national homelessness experts, and Ivan Lewis MP and Cllr Beth Knowles, who will co-chair the network and oversee the delivery of Burnham’s plan.
Commenting on the launch, Rhodri Davies, head of CAF‘s Giving Thought think tank, said:
“It is good news that Andy Burnham has established a community foundation to help tackle homelessness. The fact that it is among his first acts as Mayor of Greater Manchester highlights the vital role charities can play in addressing the challenges facing the region. The Charities Aid Foundation has called on the newly elected mayors to develop a strategy for boosting civic philanthropy and Mr Burnham’s commitment to give 15 per cent of his own salary to the new fund sends a powerful message about the importance of giving.”
- England’s mayors could boost civic philanthropy, says CAF (17 July 2017)
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