What is the GMHAN?
The Greater Manchester Homeless Action Network (GMHAN) is a network for everyone working to end homelessness in Greater Manchester. The Network brings together all the different sectors and specialisms involved in this ambition, so we can work together towards a common cause.
We do this through large scale events every 3 months aimed at co-designing Greater Manchester’s homelessness policy and showcasing best practice. We also have an Advisory Board to work on topics raised in between events and promote the Network’s voice on the GM Homelessness Programme Board (which is where decisions are made).
The Network is cross sector, including representatives from all ten Greater Manchester boroughs. Most importantly, it operated on the basis of ‘community development’ and co-production*, bringing people together to work side by side rather than alone or in hierarchies.
Information flows from the Network events through the Advisory Board to the Programme Board and operational teams delivering services or interventions. It also comes back the other way in a continual feedback loop.
What have we achieved so far?
The HAN has been established to achieve long-term systems change so that no one need become homeless in Greater Manchester. We’re not looking for quick fixes. Examples of what the HAN has been involved in since starting in 2017 include:
- Co-producing a Rough Sleeping Action Plan for the city.
- Taking the decision to deliver the Bed Every Night emergency shelter scheme, which has halved rough sleeping in Greater Manchester.
- Securing funding for a homeless families scheme by highlighting the issue with Mayor Andy Burnham and the GM Programme Board.
- Shining the spotlight on youth homelessness, resulting in the development of a Youth Homelessness Social Impact Bond programme focused on this issue.
- Supporting the evolution of a community partnership within a a local borough to work alongside and receive funding from the Local Authority.
- Informed the national political asks made by the Mayor of Greater Manchester to parties during the 2019 General Election
What are we working on this year?
The HAN sets its strategic priorities once a year at the beginning of the year. The priorities are set at the full Network Events, working alongside the Greater Manchester Combined Authority to align with the political priorities and programme.
2020 threw a lot of the Network’s priorities out the window, with the focus going on the immediate COVID response, knitting together the different components of this, sustaining the increased partnership working which came out of it, and what longer term changes were needed longer term.
The Network has also been able to kickstart the development of a Homelessness Prevention Strategy through ‘Legislative Theatre’ sessions which will continue into the New Year. On top of this, focused workshops on issues like Women’s Homelessness, Prison release and A Bed Every Night ongoing development have been hosted with partners.
How the Advisory Board works
The GMHAN Advisory Board is a core group of people who have experience across homelessness and interconnected issues within Greater Manchester.
Members include anyone interested in taking a more active role in the organisation of the GMHAN and in strengthening a community development approach to ending homelessness.
Members are ‘brokers’ in their areas of work, acting as bridges into their sector to ensure there is an exchange of information and knowledge from the ground up and vice versa. They currently include voluntary sector partnership managers, Combined Authority officers, faith leaders, university researchers, co-production experts and housing provider representatives. The ambition is for this membership to expand to fill gaps in all specialisms and geographical areas.
The Terms of Reference for the Advisory Board is available here.
The Advisory Board has two components which reflect its dual functions of action:
Members with live actions meet every two weeks to sort out anything which needs to be done, including communications to the Network, co-designing network events and supporting local partnership developments.
All Advisory Board members meet every two months to consider the overall direction and take key decisions on the basis of feedback from the Network. This is also a chance to update and inform others about relevant activities within each member’s area of expertise and experience.
Who is involved in the HAN?
The HAN is anyone who wants to end homelessness. So far, this has included people from Greater Manchester’s voluntary and community sector, housing providers, people who have been or are homeless, universities, health, faith communities, local and regional government, cultural spaces, researchers, activists and politicians. And more.
We are constantly working to develop the network and its members so this is not a finite list, if you would like to be involved in the network, either by attending events or in the Advisory Board, contact us on email@example.com.
We are currently looking for people who represent the following areas or knowledge:
- Wigan & Leigh
- Criminal Justice