GMHAN Covid Update 25/03/2020

We’d like to start by saying a massive thank you to everyone who is doing such fantastic and essential work across Greater Manchester to support people who are homeless. We appreciate that the central co-ordination is not able to meet immediate needs and that it is a really difficult situation. As well as the urgent response it is important to look at this strategically in the shorter and longer term – impressive progress has been made already by everyone pulling together and we will continue to communicate out to you all what we know. Please continue to keep us informed, and please approach this as a Greater Manchester response wherever possible.


Greater Manchester Mayor Andy Burnham has announced a £5 million package to house up to one thousand people who are homeless in local hotels. This is for people in shared temporary accommodation, including A Bed Every Night shelters and up to 280 people rough sleeping who are among the highest risk of catching Coronavirus. People will be given welfare support in the hope they do not return to rough sleeping. 625 people have been accommodated already, with 375 rooms allocated shortly.

We know that those of you working in the sector will now need further information – we are currently working with GMCA to enable us to give further clarity on the following:

  • When will the accommodation be available?
  • Where will accommodation be?
  • How will we access it and refer people to it?
  • How will the voluntary sector be involved as staff? (Please expect calls from people working with the GMHAN and GMCA, asking you to answer some questions on your staff capacity and ability to be redeployed)
  • How will food distribution work?

Please look out for further communication from us around these questions which we will send out as soon as decisions are made. If there are other key questions you need answers to, let us know by emailing

The experiences and concerns you feed into us on your frontline service delivery during this situation, are being directly fed into the Greater Manchester Strategic Lead for Homelessness and their staff on a daily basis. This currently includes twice daily zoom calls and regular email communications. This information will form the support and food services you will help to operate in the coming weeks and months. Information from them is then sent back out via these GMHAN mailings.

Further information

There is further information that you may find useful below…

GMHAN response design

We had two GMHAN calls on Tuesday (24th) to look at how to design non face to face support and how to coordinate food and distribution. You can see a write up of these calls here.

Food provision

What we know so far…

  • The GMCA are planning a coordinated response at a strategic level across Greater Manchester. The input from the VCSE sector calls have fed into this. This follows a hub and Spoke model working across GM with a LA lead in each borough. Focuses are:
    • Manage supply and demand of food/meals and identify unmet need
    • Coordinate communications to VCSE and food providers around food safety, food preparation principles
    • Develop clear referral pathways into food provision as part of welfare support and Place Based teams
    • Provide a basic quality assurance system of food providers
    • Manage a shared register of resources – protocols etc
  • Manchester City Council is working with charity partners across Manchester to ensure that an immediate local supply chain is in place.
  • GMHAN are working with CityCo. and other partners to encourage large scale business and public donations of food and other essential items. Offers are then being channelled to the high need places.

Updates on staff redeployment

A new piece of work has begun to map staff capacity across organisations working to provide support, advice and food to people who are homeless. Several people working with the GMHAN and GMCA will be calling over the course of this week, asking you to answer some questions on your staff capacity and ability to be redeployed. At this stage we assume that the biggest staffing needs will be mainly focused around Manchester in four key areas;

  • Support in newly opened accommodation (Site management, Behaviour management, Food provision, Staff safety)
  • Delivery of essential items (For people who are self isolating and/or in need, Food provisions, Medication and hygiene products)
  • Remote support (Continuing one-to-one support remotely, Providing social support and activities where possible)
  • Outreach work (Continually engaging with people who are rough sleeping to get them indoors, taking food and essential items to people who will not come indoors).

Latest information for GM and your locality

All the information we are gathering from GM and locality level is being published onto This includes:

  • Service opening times
  • Information about the community response
  • Up to date advice for the sector
  • GMHAN updates


Our #HealthNow partners at Groundswell have developed some resources to help organisations plan around Covid 19 which you may find useful. In addition there are 2 leaflets for service users who are sleeping rough or in temporary accommodation . We have printed some hard copies and can deliver them to services this week (with minimal contact) – if anyone wants some, please email

Mailing list

Please remind anyone in the sector needing this key information to signup to the GMHAN mailing list here. Updates will also be posted on and the GMHAN website.