Northampton's rough sleepers will be housed in 'university accommodation' as Covid-19 hotel scheme comes to an end

The scheme has been set up to keep rough sleepers off the street throughout the coronavirus pandemic.

Wednesday, 24th June 2020, 5:11 pm
Updated Wednesday, 24th June 2020, 5:18 pm
A scheme to keep rough sleepers off the street throughout the coronavirus pandemic is entering its next phase.

Dozens of Northampton rough sleepers will be housed in university accommodation next week as the next step of a scheme to keep people off the streets during the coronavirus pandemic.

When the lockdown began in March, 90 men and women were taken off Northampton's streets and housed at two hotels in town.There are nearly 120 people staying at the hotels and have been receiving three meals per day, toiletries, fresh clothing and access to treatment and support services.

Now, Northampton's Single Homelessness Forum is planning to move the remaining guests to an undisclosed University property after funding to house them at the hotels was extended until June 30.

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The next step of the scheme is expected to be funded by a share of a £105m grant by the Government that was announced yesterday (June 24) to take rough sleepers off the streets.

The forum's chair, the Rev Sue Faulkner, told the Chronicle & Echo the scheme has so far helped dozens of people find a "new lease on life" and motivation to get off the streets for good.

She said: "It's been a great success for many of the people involved. By working together we were able to get so many people of the streets immediately at the beginning of the lockdown, which was a spur for many of them to make some dramatic changes in their lives.

"It's been through the effort of many organisations working together in one place."

The forum, whose members include Northampton Borough Council, Northampton Hope Centre and Churches Together, was created in January 2020.

People in the hotels have been receiving three meals per day, toiletries, fresh clothing and access to treatment and support services.

It comes after councils were given £3.2m in March to provide emergency accommodation for homeless people - but the Manchester Evening News later published a leaked report showing ministers had "quietly pulled the plug" on the scheme.

BBC Northampton also reported that the extension of the hotel booking scheme has been paid for by a combination of government funding and housing benefit.