Council claims number of rough sleepers in Northampton has halved in two years

Northampton Borough Council says the number of rough sleepers in Northampton has fallen by half.
Northampton Borough Council says the number of rough sleepers in Northampton has fallen by half.

The number of rough sleepers in Northampton has been halved, according to the borough council.

A council strategy set out in 2016 asked for a combined effort by 30 local agencies to support homeless people in Northampton.

Now, in the latest organised count on Sunday (November 12), the council says the number of rough sleepers has dropped from an estimated 25 when the strategy was first published down to 13.

Councillor Stephen Hibbert, cabinet member for housing and wellbeing, said: "We are working hard to tackle rough sleeping in Northampton and I’m pleased to see that the number of people sleeping rough is going in the right direction. Sleeping rough is dangerous and has a serious impact on people’s health and wellbeing, but with a night shelter and appropriate supported housing available there is no need to sleep rough in Northampton.

"In addition to last night’s count, we have a street outreach team who regularly go out to talk to people identified as sleeping rough. Many of the people we spoke to last night are currently choosing not to engage with the services on offer but we will continue to encourage them to take advantage of the support available and change their lives for good.”

But Robin Burgess, CEO of Northampton's Hope Centre, a homelessness support charity, said: "While the rough sleepers counts are useful for raising issues or homelessness, there is considerable evidence nationally that the true figures are not fully revealed to those making the count. Therefore the Hope Centre still sees a considerable number of rough sleepers and a great deal more needs to be done."