One of the first things that the new Labour mayor of Greater Manchester Andy Burnham has done is set up a community foundation to address homelessness in the city.
He has also promised to donate 15 per cent of his salary to to the Greater Manchester Mayor’s Homelessness Fund.
Homelessness charity Crisis has been announced as the facilitator of the new Greater Manchester Mayor’s Homelessness Fund, and a GoFundMe page has been created for the fund, which aims to raise £100,000.
Burnham said he hopes to end rough sleeping across Greater Manchester within the next three years. He has pledged to donate 15 per cent of his £110,000 salary to the fund, having already contributed £1,375 of this amount.
On the GoFundMe page, Burnham said: “As the newly elected mayor of Greater Manchester, I have made ending rough sleeping across the city region by 2020 one of my top mayoral priorities. Within three years, and if we can achieve it earlier, no one should be forced to spend a night on the streets.
“As my first act as Mayor I am establishing the Greater Manchester Mayor's Homelessness Fund and as promised I will donate 15 per cent of my mayoral salary to kickstart the fund. I am delighted a number of local businesspeople have also already agreed to contribute.
Will operate as a community foundation
The fund will operate as a community foundation, an independent charity which disseminates funds to local organisations through a grant process.
The GoFundMe page says that distribution of resources wll be decided by the fund's trustees, which will include people who have experienced homelessness in Greater Manchester, and national homelessness experts. It will be co-chaired by Bury South MP Ivan Lewis and Manchester city centre councillor Beth Knowles.
The former Labour MP for Leigh was elected mayor last Friday with 63 per cent of the vote.
Responding to the new fund, Jon Sparkes, chief executive of Crisis, said: “The number of people forced to sleep rough in Greater Manchester and across the country continues to rise and, for many, the consequences are devastating. Rough sleeping ruins lives, leaving people vulnerable to violence and abuse, and taking a dreadful toll on their mental and physical health. This is no way for anyone to live.
“But we know there are solutions, and so we welcome the new mayor of Greater Manchester’s commitment to end rough sleeping across the city region by 2020, and the Greater Manchester Mayor’s Homelessness Fund, which Crisis has been chosen to help set up. For 50 years, we have been helping people leave homelessness behind for good, and we will use all that knowledge and experience to help ensure money donated to the fund is used as effectively as possible to put an end to rough sleeping in Greater Manchester once and for all.”
‘Highlights the vital role charities can play’
Commenting on the launch of a new homelessness fund 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.
"Of course we can't expect charities alone to shoulder the burden of addressing issues like homelessness but they can play a vital role.
"We hope this will inspire people to get involved in supporting the charities and community groups making villages, towns and cities across Britain better places for everyone."