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SALFORD COUNCIL REVEALS STAGGERING LEVELS OF HOMELESSNESS
 

Star date: 4th April 2018

ROUGH SLEEPING UP 600%...HOMELESS ACCEPTANCE UP 95%... HOUSEHOLDS PLACED IN B&B UP 201%

As the Homelessness Reduction Act kicks in this month, Salford City Council is about to publish its new 44-page Homeless Strategy which reveals shocking and staggering levels of homelessness in the city.

Included in the report is the fact that Salford has a higher level of rough sleeping than Manchester; that the main cause of loss of settled accommodation is violence (up 66%), and that most people presenting as homeless are under 35. What's the Council going to do about it all?

Full details here...


Homelessness in Salford and Manchester Homelessness in Salford and Manchester Homelessness in Salford and Manchester
Homelessness in Salford and Manchester Homelessness in Salford and Manchester
click image to enlarge

More 'visions', more 'strategies', more 'monitoring groups' and 'partnerships'... Salford City Council is about to publish its new Homeless Strategy, as the Homelessness Reduction Act comes into force this month.

Buried within the 44 page 'Strategy' are staggering statistics about homelessness and its causes within the city - which are a shocking indictment, not just of failed Government and Salford Council policies but also of society in general.

Salford, relatively, now has a higher level of rough sleeping than Manchester, which at the last count numbered 49, up 600% in the last five years. While this is the second highest number in Greater Manchester, in terms of numbers per 1,000 households it's actually higher than Manchester and joint highest with Tameside.

Meanwhile, over the last five years, homeless acceptances rose by 95%, compared to a 43% rise in Greater Manchester as a whole and a 33% rise across the North West. Last year, 471 individuals and households were accepted as homeless and in priority need in Salford.

Last year, there was also a 201% increase in households placed in bed and breakfast accommodation, while over the last five years the use of temporary accommodation has increased by 102%.

The Strategy cites the main cause for the loss of settled accommodation is not rent or mortgage arrears (that's second) but violence, the rate of which has increased by 66% over the last five years. And families and relatives are reluctant to help out, with this 'reluctance' increasing by 110%.

Most Salford people (60%) presenting as homeless are under 35, over half of whom are single, and thus not 'priority need'. Only 41% of these are 'accepted' as homeless by the Council.

The Strategy states that while "Homelessness presentations for this age group have increased by 68% over the 2013/17 period...the homelessness acceptances have only increased by nearly 3 % over the same period..."

The massive problems are compounded by the absolute shortage of affordable housing. Even getting on the housing ladder at all is becoming tougher, with average house prices in Salford increasing by 16% over the last five years – from £131,419 to £152,579.

Meanwhile, household income in the city has increased by only 1.6%, from £28,725 in 2014 to £29,181 in 2016/17. This has resulted in an increase of the affordability ratio (the ratio of average house prices to average household income) from 4.74 to 5.2 in 2016/17, states the Strategy.

Underpinning this is an annual shortfall of 760 affordable properties. And the Strategy notes what everyone in the city already knows... "It is recognised that most of the new build growth caters for the medium and higher end markets but vulnerable households are also becoming more reliant on the lower end of the private rented market due to the limited supply of social and affordable housing..."

All this is happening while Salford is undergoing its biggest property boom for years. 17,723 properties are currently in the city's planning pipeline, with 40% of those developed for the Private Rented Sector. According to the Council, only 3,500 'affordable homes' are to be delivered by 2021, and nowhere does it define 'affordable' – are they social rent, affordable rent, 'intermediate houses'? It doesn't say.

Also, nowhere in the 'Strategy' does Salford Council admit its own failings that have contributed to the housing crisis – the bulldozing of hundreds and hundreds of real affordable houses, to make way for over-expensive market houses to attract 'young professionals'. Plus its own SPD planning policies that have let developers avoid contributing thousands of affordable houses, via Section 106 (see a zillion previous Salford Star articles).

It's all led to a perfect storm of a housing and homelessness mess that is only just beginning, with the massive elephant of Universal Credit about to enter even more rooms...as housing benefits go directly to claimants rather than landlords.

So what are Salford Council and Salford City Mayor, Paul Dennett, going to do about it?  Well, there's certainly a strategy – indeed, the word 'strategy' appears almost seventy times within the Homeless Strategy, along with 'visions', 'monitoring groups' and 'partnership working'.

The priorities, the report proudly announces, are 'Preventing homelessness', 'Reduce the impact of homelessness' and to 'Eradicate the need for rough sleeping'...and to do this it identifies 'key challenges' of  a 'shortage of affordable housing', 'Welfare Reform', the 'Rise in rough sleeping', 'Domestic violence', the 'Lack of accommodation for under 35's' and 'A lack of support for people with complex mental health and health issues'...

Greater Manchester Mayor, Andy Burnham, has a huge pot of money to help deal with all this - £5.6million from the Government, plus whatever his Mayoral Fund is standing at currently. He has £1.8million as part of a Social Impact Bond to help sort 'entrenched rough sleepers', plus £3.8million "to develop a new city region wide approach to preventing homelessness and reducing rough sleeping".

Measures are to include 'Local Hub Development', a 'Social Lettings Agency approach', 'Homelessness Action Network' and 'Housing First'.

Salford was supposed to be getting a 'local hub' on the site of the old Woolpack pub in Pendleton, to be run by Coffee4Craig...but the Salford Star understands that this has fallen through, despite Burnham making a song and dance about the venture at the site of the derelict pub last June.

To conform to the Homelessness Reduction Act, which puts a duty on Salford Council to  'prevent' and 'relieve' homelessness, the Council is going to "engage with people and services early before reaching the homelessness stage as prevention is the key"; "Allocate resources and additional support so people can keep their existing accommodation"; and it's going to have "Early identification of homelessness risk factors, to enable early referral to the supported tenancies service to promote early intervention and homelessness prevention"...

It is also going to "Develop and agree a pre-eviction protocol between Registered Providers, Children's Services and SHOP [Salford Housing Option Point] to agree trigger points for referrals" and "Develop and widely publicise customer pathways to prevent homelessness" by next year (!), and to support Burnham's initiatives by 2019 (!).

The Council is also finally admitting the need to listen to people at the sharp end of homelessness, rather than officers, stating that there has been a "lack" of "service user participation".

The Strategy also promises "Provision of more affordable housing", although its announcement last week of 67 'Salford rent' homes over five years is barely going to scratch the surface. Indeed, the Council might have got a better grip on the problem had it not hived off virtually all its social housing stock to private companies, City West and Salix Homes.

Indeed the Strategy almost acknowledges this, arguing that Government led changes to social housing "particularly housing providers having the option to use 'affordable rents' and 'flexible tenancies', the extension of Right to Buy to housing associations, and the sale of 'high value stock', if implemented, could potentially have adverse impact on number of people becoming homeless, and put pressure on homelessness services".

The Council is also making some bold promises to "Reduce placement into bed and breakfast and length of stay by 10%" and to reduce the number of rough sleepers "by approximately 25% year on year" – from the current 49 rough sleepers, to 37 by November 2018, to 14 by 2020...even though Andy Burnham has promised that there will be no rough sleepers by that date.

There's very little detail on how the Council is going to do all this – there's certainly no mention of opening up tinned up Council properties (see here). Instead, action plans consist of leaflets, online information, staff training, a 'joined up approach' and a bucketful of more 'strategies'...

...As well as the Salford Homelessness Strategy 2018-2023 there's the Shaping Housing in Salford 2020 Strategy; the Homelessness Strategy Monitoring Group; Salford Strategic Housing Partnership; The Homelessness Strategic Group; Greater Manchester Strategy: Joint Health and Wellbeing Strategy; Tackling Poverty in Salford strategy; and the SHOP and Housing Strategy and Enabling Team...

Words...jargon...titles...the Salford Star has in its archive a recycling bin full of these un-kept 'strategies' dating back years. And there's still unacceptable levels of poverty in the city...and still an unacceptable housing crisis. It's hard to have faith that anything is going to change with this latest 'strategy'. Both the GM Mayor and Salford Mayor's reputation is resting on it...

Meanwhile, the Salford Star visited a squat in Manchester last week containing twenty desperate homeless, mainly young, people...as the strategies are still being discussed.


To read the full 44 page Salford Homelessness Strategy 2018-2023: Early intervention, effective prevention, and innovative solutions – click here

The insane have taken over the asylum says wrote
at 06:41:11 on 09 April 2018
@phil. It’s all relevant, don’t cry poverty whilst spending on lavish projects. Sorry Phil for not asking your permission on what topic I can speak on, but then you’re just a typical socialist, shouting about freedom of speech, but in reality, denying it to everyone, unless it fits in with your narrative. Ps over £100 million that could have been spent on Salfordians.
 
Bob the regular wrote
at 09:41:02 on 08 April 2018
Phil can you not see what has happened? Salford Council ,that has always been run by labour , knocked down thousands of habitable houses, some privately owned by their occupiers, some owned by private landlords who rented them out. These were in places like Langworthy road, lower and higher broughton. As has been pointed out, many times in this journal, these houses could have been refurbished, and they would have provided dense accomodation levels (new build is less dense). This would have provide work for smaller firms who tend to use more local labour. A bit mucky but it can be done cost effectively. The thing is, the Labour council thought they were going to get lots of cash from browns government, and lots of housing grant cash for housing associations. That way, they could have sold all the land they got after using pathfinder cash to knock houses down, to the housing associations. Instead, the housing crash of the late noughties came and wiped them out.Labour just do not know what they are doing. Look at our mayor. He gets £1500 a week pay. A single bloke he pays his rent and council tax say £100 a week. If you had that sort of cash would you live where he does. What does he do with all his cash? He could buy a plot of land, pay a local bricky like I used to be to build him a house, he could buy bricks made not far away in Accrington,good bricks from another area run by a useless labour council, a factory now mothballed. He could employ local joiners ,plumbers etc. he could move into his new home and enjoy it, his money will have been well spent, and his old home could then be rented out to a person less fortunate than him who needs a home. The housing shortage will be one less and he would have created good all round. When I was younger, and less wise than I am now, even I could not have gone that much cash a week (Josephs was a lot cheaper then) so what does he do with his cash, does he put it in one of these wicked , capitalist banks, run by these greedy banker sorts who get huge handouts from the tories to keep them afloat?
 
Phil wrote
at 11:08:59 on 07 April 2018
The insane have taken over the asylum, you're off topic, mate. We're not commenting on the stuff that you're gibbering on about. The topic is about homelessness in Salford. And I see that in your anti-Labour rant you didn't mention it once.
 
Michael James Felse wrote
at 11:08:46 on 07 April 2018
Thanks @Insane. Don’t forget the £millions tied up in outside of Salford shares (Airports) estimated at £280millon. Enough £s to wipe out Salford student debt, house 50 homeless and give free council tax to all over 50s for 3 years.
 
Joe wrote
at 11:08:33 on 07 April 2018
If the mayor really cared about the homeless problem in Salford, he'd give up the social housing he occupies which he really shouldn't have in view of his salary level.
 
Bill. S wrote
at 11:08:27 on 07 April 2018
The insane have taken over the asylum......You should’t point out facts and the truth to socialists, it makes what’s left of their brain go pop. It was in 2002, 5 years after Tony Blair and labour took over from the Tories, remember 1997, in 2002 the first food bank opened in Britain, yes under Labour. On homelessness, again under Labour, Tony Blair threw open our borders to the world, remember, to rub the rights nose in diversity, 650,000 people a year coming in to the country, all wanting a home and some wanting a job. This is why we have a housing shortage, this is why were building on our countryside and now in our parks, because of Labour’s destruction of society and it will only get worse until the people wake up and smell the coffee, Labour are a danger to the whole of society, they leave a wake of destruction every time they’ve been in power.
 
The insane have taken over the asylum wrote
at 10:51:11 on 06 April 2018
@phil. £24+million on Salford Reds, £30million on a bridge, £13 million on a fountain, £3 million a year on BBC philharmonic orchestra, around £50million in unpaid section 106 monies not being paid by parasitic property developers with the complete blessing of this Labour council and you say that this Salford Labour council is cash strapped because of the Tories , now we know you’re talking through you ring. Hey Phil, take the Labour rose tinted glasses off and Phil, I’ve got a brain, I don’t vote Labour. It’s labour who run Salford, Not the Tories, it’s labour in Salford who put their multimillionaire friends before genuine Salfordians.
 
Bob the regular wrote
at 10:50:48 on 06 April 2018
Thanks editor. just read it. I remember it now, I made a comment on it at the time. Am going off it, to much Josephs over the years, either that or them lot at the council together with City West and Salix have finally sent me round the bend.
 
Michael James Felse wrote
at 18:55:48 on 05 April 2018
Please allow me to point out this Friday is the last day for Salford local election nominations. If you are standing, whatever party, the signed papers must be in Civic Hall early to be checked. I am NOT standing by keeping my pledge given in return for stopping the Nursery closures. But I do feel new blood in all parties will be a tonic. For the record I am thankful for all the comments made on here and where offence has been afforded I am pleased to forgive and forget. Just let us have an election that returns the best candidate in each ward. The job today is totally important.
 
Salford Star wrote
at 18:34:42 on 05 April 2018
See Bob The Regular comment below... you did indeed miss the Salix homeless article on Feb 2nd - which has now been confirmed in a Salix report http://www.salfordstar.com/article.asp?id=4342
 
Bob the regular wrote
at 18:07:39 on 05 April 2018
I hope I have not missed it, I do like to keep up with my favorite journal, but what happened to the story about the Salix £2.3million for the homeless. Our editor did promise it to be on the way While were at it, what about that other good story promised, the one about the land sales. Sorry to be impatient ,but you know what I am like.
 
Phil wrote
at 18:07:35 on 05 April 2018
I'm sorry Guys, but you can't blame Salford Labour for Salford homelessness. For a start, the homeless are often transient. I myself met and talked with one of them on Market Street. He was from Hartlepool, but had spent six months dossing in Liverpool before arriving in Manchester on the day that I met him. So as you can see, if lots of the homeless are transient then you can't blame the Mayor for this one. Equally, most of the homeless in Salford sleep near the invisible border between Salford and Manchester, within a few hundred metres of The Pump House. The reason why so many people doss down in the alleyways and empty buildings around that part of Salford is because of its close proximity to City Centre Manchester, and the fact that in that part of Salford, on the border, is where, on the back streets you can find empty buildings etc. I feel that to make this story about Salford's homeless shame is just another unfair way to criticise Salford Council and the Mayor. But it won't work, as anyone with a brain can see through such tactics. Incidentally, I live in a high rise on the Broadwalk. There, there is a church run by Mr Wyatt. At night there are lots of homeless people living in the big room. There's between ten and fifteen. Almost none of them are Salfordians. They are transients who have drifted into Salford. Then you have the Narrowgate Night Shelter. Every night there will be about twenty five homeless there. A small percentage will be from Salford. So don't go around blaming Salford Council for everything. And the problems ARE down to the Tories. The proof of this is that every time there is a Conservative Government, poverty and homelessness go up. It happened in the eighties, and it's happening now. Also, Salford Council genuinely don't have the money to work wonders. I think that I read somewhere that they have been starved of 176 million pounds as a result of cuts in the last seven years. And yet look at how well Salford is run. We are hardly being run like a failed state. For my opinion Salford City Council are doing a great job; despite all of the things that are stacked against them.
 
wrote
at 12:22:49 on 05 April 2018
Every college student and social worker knows this is a massive threat to peoples health. Educated to know about social economics they know anyone of us can end up homeless. Do not be fooled the council has loads of cash to end homelessness. One question why is it not spending the millions it is given on quick actions today to end Salford homelessness.
 
Gareth L wrote
at 12:22:34 on 05 April 2018
The Mayor got his flat. So what's the problem!!!
 
David Minshull wrote
at 07:45:40 on 05 April 2018
As C4C has pulled out of Hub project, what has finances raised from the public to pay for contribution % towards the project been used for, or has it been agreed to be used for something else in conjunction with homelessness in Salford?
 
wrote
at 07:45:20 on 05 April 2018
Housing is a human right. This needs to be taken out of politics. Andy Burnham could appoint an independent chairperson. Take politics out and put trust into what is happening to the unfortunate souls. Ask Salford Star to run a public nomination and public vote on line. Stop rejecting Salford Star. Put them to good use.
 
Alexis wrote
at 07:45:09 on 05 April 2018
Does this report mention at all that the council also just arbitrarily kicked people off the social housing waiting list just under a year ago? http://www.salfordstar.com/article.asp?id=3885
 
Joe O'Neill wrote
at 07:45:03 on 05 April 2018
Salford Labour will do what labour do best talk, talk and talk a little more then the final blow! Blame the bloody Tories. the political Bogeman. And the people on the street will remain all this while we fill the city with properties to aspire to.
 
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