Homeless households caseload cut in half in Northampton

A borough council report shows the town's homelessness strategy is cutting down the rough sleeping and homeless household problems in Northampton.

Friday, 19th January 2018, 9:20 am
Updated Friday, 19th January 2018, 10:27 am
Last year, the borough council said it was "struggling" with the rise in homelessness in the town.

Last year, the borough council reported it was "struggling" to deal with homelessness in the town, and was faced with a huge backlog of applications of homeless households.

Figures published in August 2017 showed the council spent £50,000 a month on temporary accommodation and had put up over 200 households over 18 months, including 87 cases in B&Bs.

This included many households being sent to accommodation outside the borough in Kettering and Wellingborough, placing huge pressure on families whose support networks were based in Northampton.

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Meanwhile, homelessness officers were dealing with up to 50 cases each, with a four-week waiting time for an appointment.

But a report published ahead of a housing and wellbeing committee meeting on January 22 says the council has managed to cut down on the backlog.

The number of households in B&Bs has been reduced by a third, and the number of households in temporary accommodation outside the borough has dropped by half.

Outstanding homelessness cases have been reduced from 205 down to 66, while the average caseload of homelessness officers has dropped from 50 down to 18, while waiting times for an appointment is now on average three days.

Meanwhile, the council's emergency night shelter, in St Andrew's Road, has reportedly helped over 150 homeless men, and helped get 88 of its guests off the street and into settled accommodation.

Councillor Stephen Hibbert, cabinet member or housing and wellbeing, said: “There has been a sharp rise in the number of households applying to the council for support over the last couple of years, which has increased the council’s use of temporary accommodation, including bed and breakfast accommodation.

“However, the recent recruitment of an additional temporary housing officer and the appointment of a residential management group has enabled a number of homeless households to be moved on from temporary accommodation and has reduced staff caseloads as well as appointment waiting times.

“In addition, the council has procured a number of self-contained accommodation units, which are a more suitable alternative to bed and breakfast. This has enabled a reduction in the number of households in bed and breakfast, in particular those placed outside of the borough.”