A TOTAL of 60 people have been found a bed for the night who would otherwise have been sleeping rough.

The A Bed Every Night initiative, launched last year as part of Andy Burnham’s pledge to eradicate homelessness in Greater Manchester by 2020.

Bolton Council says it has boosted its usual cold weather provisions and is currently recruiting volunteers to help with a homeless shelter.

A spokesman for Bolton Council said: “Since November, through the ‘A Bed Every Night’ initiative, Bolton has helped 60 people who otherwise would have slept rough.

“People are being given shelter and support to help them off the street, both through A Bed Every Night and our existing cold weather and year-round accommodation.

“We currently have 20 people in accommodation under the initiative, and we are working with our partners to help rough sleepers to a life permanently off the streets."

The numbers being helped in Bolton fly in the face of official figures released annually by councils and the Office for National Statistics.

The most recent figures, from 2017, say there are just 17 rough sleepers in Bolton but this number is just a snapshot taken by a council worker on one day of the year, not an average across 12 months. It also does not take into account beggars and people who are sleeping rough occasionally.

A Bed Every Night looks to go over and above what councils are required to offer to provide stability for rough sleepers of all kinds.

Greater Manchester Mayor Andy Burnham says 901 people have been helped thanks to A Bed Every Night in the region.

Mr Burnham says across the region 285 people have now moved onto to fixed accommodation because of it.

However, the scheme was hit with bad press last week when it was revealed one of the flagship shelters had had to shut permanently because of electrical problems.

The spokesman added: “As well as providing rooms in hostels and B&Bs, the Bolton Homeless Alliance is also periodically opening an overnight shelter.

“The number of rough sleepers does fluctuate and there are a lot of reasons why people sleep on the streets.

“Some individuals have complex needs and refuse assistance but we continue to try and engage with them.

“We will also continue to work with our partners to secure long term suitable accommodation for rough sleepers and others at risk.”

To support the overnight shelter the Homeless Alliance is recruiting volunteers ­— it needs 300.

A spokesman for the campaign said: “The Bolton Homeless Alliance campaign to recruit volunteers to help at overnight shelters is going well.

“Our partnership is a friendship that is going strong and the numbers are encouraging.

“We have had more than a hundred requests for applications but people need to fill the forms in so the team can get cracking with processing their applications.

“We also still need more volunteers and we would urge people to get in touch.”

Those interested in becoming volunteers can contact homelessalliance@urbanoutreach.co.uk for an application form.