Nearly 550 people in Northampton are registered as statutory homeless after losing their home or being evicted, latest figures show.
The statistics show that the town is far worse than many places in England, with almost triple the national average of stautory homeless people, adjusted for population size.
The Hope Centre, in Campbell Street, which deals with lots about 120 homless people each day, said the statistics, although based on data from 2013, ring true and may be a consequence of Northampton being a large town.
Mary Crook, a fundraising officer, said: “I think often it is a result of being a big town, people get drawn here looking for work, which is either short term or they don’t find anything.”
Although regulations have tightened recently, Mrs Crook said historical irresponsible lending by some banks has led to some of the statutory homelessness, where a build-up of debt caused people to default on their rent or mortgage.
Northampton Borough Council is responsible for helping people who have no permanent address find accommodation in temporary private flats or houses.
To be classed as such people must be ‘eligible for public funds’, they must have some sort of connection to the area covered by the local authority and be able to prove that homelessness was not their fault.
They also need to prove they are in ‘priority need’, which is often a stumbling block for single adults.
Councillor Stephen Hibbert, Northampton Borough Council cabinet member for housing, said a great deal of work has been carried out since 2013 to combat homelessness in Northampton.
A drop-in housing service at the Guildhall, means advice can be given without an appointment.
More officers are also now available to work with homeless people afrom the moment they register.
And council-backed bonds also help people without a deposit get private housing.
Councillor Hibbert said: “The borough council is committed to doing all it can to prevent people becoming homeless by working with them to assess their housing needs and offer suitable support according to their individual circumstances. “We would urge anyone who is facing homelessness to contact us at the earliest opportunity by calling 0300 330 7000, in person at the Guildhall One Stop Shop or online at www.northampton.gov.uk/contactthecouncil.”