Northampton hotels for homeless scheme extended

  • Published
The Reverend Sue FaulknerImage source, Sue Faulkner
Image caption,
Sue Faulkner said the extension of block bookings at two Northampton hotels would give more time to get as many people as possible into accommodation

A scheme to accommodate a town's homeless population in hotels during the coronavirus pandemic has been extended until the end of June.

Northampton's Single Homelessness Forum moved 90 homeless or rough sleeping men and women into two hotels in March.

A 12-week block booking, due to end on Friday, was extended until 30 June.

Forum chairwoman the Reverend Sue Faulkner said it meant people would have more time to be helped to move into long-term accommodation.

"People are at various stages on their journey to move off the streets," she said.

"Some need a little more time."

The forum, whose members include Northampton Borough Council, Northampton Hope Centre and Churches Together, moved homeless people into hotels at the end of March as the government insisted all rough sleepers should be found a roof over their head.

People in the hotels have been receiving three meals per day, toiletries, fresh clothing and access to treatment and support services.

Rough sleeper
Getty Images
Homelessness and the pandemic

The numbers behind Northampton's attempts to house the homeless

  • 119People housed in two Northampton hotels

  • 28people moved into housing

  • 16people evicted from the hotels

  • Oneperson has died from coronavirus

Source: Freedom of Information request to Northampton Borough Council by freelance journalist Natalie Bloomer

There have been concerns rough sleepers might return to the streets when the block booking ends, but Ms Faulkner said the work taking place in the hotels was "putting people on a very good footing".

Leaked report

She said many of those in the hotels had already taken "massive steps" forward and people can "build on the success they've had" through secure accommodation and proper support services.

Ms Faulkner said it would be "overly optimistic" to say everyone in the hotels would be re-homed by 1 July, but said discussions were taking place to ensure provision for all was in place down the line.

Councils were given £3.2m in March to provide emergency shelter for homeless people, but the Manchester Evening News later reported a leaked report showed ministers had "quietly pulled the plug" on the scheme.

Housing minister Robert Jenrick subsequently announced plans for 6,000 new housing units nationally.

Northampton Borough Council said the extension of the hotel booking has been paid for through a combination of government funding and housing benefit.

Find BBC News: East of England on Facebook, Instagram and Twitter. If you have a story suggestion email eastofenglandnews@bbc.co.uk

Related Internet Links

The BBC is not responsible for the content of external sites.