Andy Burnham’s flagship scheme to tackle rough-sleeping will receive £1.5m from the NHS over the next 12 months, the mayor’s office has said.
A Bed Every Night (ABEN) was recently handed a year’s extension, having been launched throughout the city-region last November.
Health and social care leaders from Greater Manchester’s 10 districts have this week agreed to allocate £1m to the scheme, in addition to £500k they had already committed earlier this year.
The funding boost is thought to be the largest ever NHS investment in prevention of homelessness and rough sleeping, according to the combined authority.
Mr Burnham said on Wednesday it was evidence of ‘devolution in action’.
“It is in keeping with the NHS founding mission of helping those in greatest need and recognising that without good housing you cannot have good health,” the mayor added.
“It also signifies part of the wider approach being taken in our city-region to move from a treatment model of care to one focused on prevention.
“Crucially, the investment will enable us to improve ABEN provision so that it better meets the needs of those who access it.”
The city-region’s health and social care joint commissioning board agreed the funding at its meeting this week, with the investment expected to reduce demand on A&E and other emergency services.
Mr Burnham announced in May that ABEN would be extended through to June 2020 – at an estimated yearly cost of up to £6m – with health organisations playing a greater role.
Other public services to have agreed financial support include the police and Ministry of Justice, with the prison service also planning to invest, the combined authority said.
It means ABEN can move from providing emergency accommodation to a focus on prevention, bosses said.
Dr Ruth Bromley, a GP and clinical lead for homelessness in Manchester and a member of the joint commissioning board, said: “This is the right thing to do morally, professionally and financially.
“Too often our hospitals see the impact when people forced to sleep on the streets turn up at A&E at a point where their health has become very poor, or they have had some sort of crisis.
“We want to be able to support people sleeping rough before they get to that point.
“But it is very difficult for people to get that help if they are on the streets, which is why this investment makes sense.”
Mr Burnham, who has pledged to end rough-sleeping across GM by 2020 and donates a portion of his salary to a homelessness fund, added: “This is devolution in action – public services here in GM working collaboratively, identifying what needs to be done and collectively raising the quality of what we are able to offer to those who require our support.”
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