Corbyn visits Hope Centre and says Northampton Borough Council can do more to tackle homelessness

Jeremy Corbyn and Robin Burgess. Photo: Kirsty Edmonds
Jeremy Corbyn and Robin Burgess. Photo: Kirsty Edmonds

Jeremy Corbyn said Northampton Borough Council could be doing more to tackle homelessness in the town during a visit to the Hope Centre this morning.

Borough councillor for St James and shadow cabinet member for housing and wellbeing, Rufia Ashraf, invited Mr Corbyn to Northampton and the Hope Centre after meeting him at a policy forum in March.

Borough councillor for St James and shadow cabinet member for housing and wellbeing,Rufia Ashraf, invited Mr Corbyn to Northampton in March. Photo: Kirsty Edmonds

Borough councillor for St James and shadow cabinet member for housing and wellbeing,Rufia Ashraf, invited Mr Corbyn to Northampton in March. Photo: Kirsty Edmonds

During his visit the Labour leader was given a tour of the centre by CEO Robin Burgess where he met with members of staff as well as the people who use the centre, before being asked what more could be done to deal with the housing crisis and homelessness.

“I understand the difficulty of running local government and understand the national funding issues to local government, but to provide such minimal support to the single homeless seems to me to be an area they should be giving much more support to," said Mr Corbyn.

“The people of Northampton have given huge support to Hope Centre, maybe the council could do as much.”

The Hope Centre offers help to vulnerable people who are in unstable accommodation by providing services such as food and clothing to people in extreme poverty and with complex disadvantage, including problems of homelessness, drugs and alcohol and mental health.

Photo: Kirsty Edmonds

Photo: Kirsty Edmonds

Their aim is to help their clients become employable through skills and training.

Mr Corbyn cited a backdrop of lack of housing, an unregulated private sector and a dearth of council housing as the main reasons why people in Britain end up in places like the Hope Centre

"Councils themselves are not building enough, or most cases they're not building anything," said the Labour leader.

"The private rented sector is largely unregulated and those who pay the price then are those people who are homeless who cannot get anywhere to live because they can't get the money together for a deposit, they can't afford the rent, or the rents are beyond the local housing allowance level," said Mr Corbyn.

Photo: Kirsty Edmonds

Photo: Kirsty Edmonds

“Places like Hope Centre do help but unless there is an ability of the local authority to provide often one bed flats then Hope Centre and many others like it round the country become full, and we end up with people sleeping in tents under railway bridges, like you see outside Northampton station.”

Mr Corbyn believes the key to solving the housing crisis was to build more homes, including a large number of council housing in all parts of the country.

He said: “At the moment some councils are managing to build some council housing, housing associations are building some, but too often it has to be balanced against building for sale, or a wholesale regeneration project, which often ends up with social cleansing going with it.

"So it is about a housing estate that deals with the housing needs.”