Number of Manchester’s rough sleepers down for second consecutive year amongst concerns

  • The number of homeless people in Greater Manchester has decreased for a second consecutive year
  • Mayor of Manchester Andy Burnham pledges further action to take place to end rough sleeping by 2020
  • Homeless Project Manchester Boss, Damon Spillane, and a regular volunteer, Emma Farrell have concerns with accuracy of figures and realism of the Mayor's Claims

Greater Manchester has witnessed a drop in the number of rough sleepers for a second year in a row.

Greater Manchester Combined Authority (GMCA) latest figures show that from November 2018 to September 2019, 241 people were living outdoors compared to 195 the year before.

Apart from the last two years, there has been a year-on-year increase of homeless people in Manchester since 2010. 

Although Manchester and Salford saw decreases, five out of city’s 10 boroughs saw an increase in rough sleepers. Bolton, Salford, Tameside and Wigan all recorded decreases in numbers. 

Mayor Andy Burnham hopes to end rough sleeping in Greater Manchester by 2020. 

He said: “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.”

However, the leader of Homeless Project Manchester, Damon Spillane, has some contrasting views on the figures being released. He makes bold claims and suggests that the figures are inaccurate. 

He said: “If someone’s asleep and don’t wake up they class that as there’s no one there.”

“Unless a homeless person interacts with them, they are classed as not being homeless.”

Damon does believe that the council are doing a good job but remains unconvinced, not only by the figures, but by the Mayor’s 2020 vision.

He said: “They have a job to do and they have a certain way they have to do their job, is fine but I think the figures are wrong yes.”

Homeless Project Manchester is a non-profit, unofficial organisation, that is run by Damon. It collects donated items such as food, clothes, sleeping bags and toiletries and delivers them to homeless people throughout the city.

Emma Farrell, regular volunteer for Damon’s non-profit, mentioned how unfair they get treated by members of the council, politicians, owners of companies.

Damon Spillane and Emma Farrell at the front with volunteers
Damon Spillane (right) and Emma Farrell (left) 


She said: “The homeless are seen as an untidy burden messing up the streets, creating rubbish, begging, but where can they go and what can they do?

“We get told that we are keeping people on the streets by providing everything they need to stay there but this is nonsense!”

Emma also commented on the councils work and suggests that the derelict buildings could be transformed into shelters for example. 

She said: “The main problem is housing & accommodation, actually getting people off the street that’s something we can’t help with.

“We can only try & make things a little more comfortable but Manchester City council need to be doing more.”

On a more positive note she acknowledges and appreciates some of the big supermarkets that are helping with the homeless crisis. 

“Aldi is giving away free food on Xmas eve for those in need which is great.”

“Other companies like Greggs, Tesco & McVities help us out with donations which means we are able to go out each week to feed the rough sleepers in the city centre.”