Council nightshelter could be moved into Northampton's Oasis House after Hope Centre eviction

Northampton's rough sleeper night shelter could be relocated to Oasis House after the building's landlords chose to terminate a charity's lease there.

By The Newsroom
Monday, 22nd October 2018, 2:33 pm
Updated Wednesday, 24th October 2018, 7:12 am
The Hope Centre, which runs a day centre for homeless people in Campbell Street, has been served notice to vacate Oasis House.
The Hope Centre, which runs a day centre for homeless people in Campbell Street, has been served notice to vacate Oasis House.

On Friday, Midland Heart revealed that it had served the Hope Centre with an eviction to leave its purpose-built premises in Campbell Street within a year.

The Hope Centre has been running a day centre there for people in precarious housing situations to get affordable food and a range of advice at Oasis House since 2012.

On Friday, patron of the charity Sally Keeble said she was outraged by the decision, though Midland Heart says it now wants to expand the amount of temporary accommodation available at Oasis House.

Oasis House opened in 2012.

Northampton Borough Council has now revealed it could take up some of the space vacated by the Hope Centre when it leaves - and could even relocate its men-only rough sleeper shelter in St Andrews Road to Oasis House in a bid to open it up to women as well.

Councillor Stephen Hibbert, Northampton Borough Council's cabinet member for housing and wellbeing, said: “Our primary concern is to ensure that everyone who is sleeping rough is provided with the help, support and opportunities they need in order to off come the street, move into settled accommodation and rebuild their lives.

“Midland Heart, which owns Oasis House, has carried out a review of its services and has decided that, in future, its focus will be on delivering services that make the biggest difference and enable people with complex needs to move on successfully from supported housing to independent living.

“Midland Heart has told us it wants to work more closely with the council and other organisations to deliver a range of services from Oasis House that are designed to end the cycle of homelessness and promote independence, tenancy readiness and employment.

“It has expressed interest in working with us to expand the ‘Link’ service that has been operating through the Nightshelter since February 2017.

“The Nightshelter has already helped more than 150 homeless men to move on successfully into settled accommodation and connected them with a host of support services that help them to become independent and rebuild their lives.

“We welcome the opportunity to work more closely with Midland Heart and will explore the options for relocating the Nightshelter to alternative premises – including Oasis House – that are able to accommodate homeless men and women.

“We are keen to work with any organisation that is committed to ending the need for people to sleep rough in Northampton, as we have done with the Hope Centre over the years, including funding and a long lease on Maple House.”

In August, an investigation by the Bureau of Investigative Journalism and the Chronicle and Echo found many homelessness workers in the town felt the bar for accessing the nightshelter was too high.

The council strongly disputes this, saying that the nightshelter has helped dozens of people who have initially presented with challenging behaviour, including some who have been banned by other services.