ANDY Burnham has backed a homelessness report which calls upon the Government to to carry on with the Everyone In policy which saw rough sleepers being supported during the pandemic.

The metro mayor, along with Paul Dennett, the Greater Manchester Combined Authority (GMCA) lead on housing and homelessness, both support the findings of the Kerslake Commission on homelessness and rough sleeping.

The Commission mentioned that: "The Government must capture and capitalise on the gains that were made as a result of its ‘Everyone In’ policy and the partnership working which flowed from it as a matter of urgency, and maintain the necessary funding.

"The cross-sector, cross-departmental, momentum initiated by central Government at the start of the pandemic, married with the additional support and resourcing provided since, has clearly demonstrated that street homelessness can be ended."

Andy Burnham said: "In Greater Manchester we have been working hard to tackle homelessness and end the need for rough sleeping right across our city-region, with innovative schemes like A Bed Every Night contributing to an almost 50per cent reduction in the two years prior to the pandemic.

"Greater Manchester shows what is possible when a bed plus targeted support is made available to someone who had been regularly sleeping outdoors. Everyone In accelerated that vital work, not just here but right across the country.

"We must all learn the lessons from the pandemic and the public health emergency response to rough sleeping - our own proposals for a Greater Manchester Homelessness Prevention Strategy has healthcare provision at its very heart.

"The charity Crisis estimates that if 40,000 people were prevented from becoming homeless for one year in England it would save the public purse £370 million. It makes tackling homelessness economically the correct thing to do, as well as morally.

"Everyone In showed that you can take people off our streets and provide the wrap-around support they so badly need. We share the same ambition as the Government to end rough sleeping – they should listen to Kerslake and continue to fund this policy because it works."

Paul Dennett added: “It is simply wrong that so many in our country continue to live a life blighted by homelessness. Government is right in aiming to end the need for rough sleeping by 2024 – in Greater Manchester we have made great strides of our own in this area over recent years. But Government risks undoing this progress by failing to learn the lessons of the pandemic.

“The Kerslake Commission on Homelessness and Rough Sleeping’s findings are timely and Ministers should take note. It is clear that to prevent more homelessness and rough sleeping the £20 uplift in Universal Credit must be maintained, and that the acceleration of the delivery of truly affordable housing is key. Without a good quality and affordable home, homelessness remains a very real risk for too many of our citizens.

"If Government’s pledge to level-up is to mean anything, it has got to be about accommodating some of our most vulnerable citizens and supporting them in their journeys away from a life on the streets. Everyone In proved what could be done – let’s make what is currently temporary a permanent reality.”