Council to buy block of flats in Northampton to help house homeless

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There are106 long-term rough sleepers in the area, but there are only 40 supported accommodation units

West Northamptonshire Council (WNC) will purchase a Northampton block of flats to house people who have a history of homelessness in the area.

Councillors approved a proposal to buy Broadmead Court, on St Albans Road – a three-storey building containing 21 apartments.

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The property is already used to accommodate homeless people with connections to the local area. However, the current owner is now looking to sell the building. The council spoke of plans to convert the block into self-contained flats at a cabinet meeting on Tuesday, October 10.

WNC are to buy Broadmead Court, Northampton, to increase housing support for Northamptonshire\'s rough sleepers.
Credit: Google StreetviewWNC are to buy Broadmead Court, Northampton, to increase housing support for Northamptonshire\'s rough sleepers.
Credit: Google Streetview
WNC are to buy Broadmead Court, Northampton, to increase housing support for Northamptonshire\'s rough sleepers. Credit: Google Streetview

Councillor Adam Brown, deputy leader of WNC, said at the meeting: “We have over 600 households placed in temporary accommodation at the moment – this makes the decision tonight all the more important.”

Housing and Public Health jointly commissioned research to investigate the needs of people who are homeless across West Northamptonshire and identified gaps in support. They found that there were 106 long-term rough sleepers in the region, but there are only 40 supported accommodation units with high-level on-site provision available.

This leaves a gap of 66 rough sleepers without direct access to specific accommodation units. With the extra flats at Broadmead Court, this will reduce that number to 45.

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The purchase of the apartment building coincides with a government scheme, the Single Homelessness Accommodation Strategy (SHAP), which is a £200 million fund set to deliver up to 2400 homes and support services for people sleeping rough, or at risk of sleeping rough, across the country.

WNC has been named as a target authority for SHAP, and is to apply to the final cycle of funding at the beginning of November 2023. There will be 15 successful applicants who will be awarded the grant in December.

If the SHAP bid is unsuccessful, the council have proposed to use Broadmead Court to increase its own temporary accommodation resources. Currently, out of the 600 households in this category, only 151 are owned by the council.

This would reduce the reliance on nightly purchased accommodation, which is subject to higher costs to the council. West Northamptonshire Council have previously projected a £2.3m overspend on costs to temporary and supported accommodation for this year.

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Councillor Sally Beardsworth, leader of the Liberal Democrats, said: “There are people out there that use every avenue in the private sector to make all of their money out of other people’s misery. We might have an awful lot more people and families needing private accommodation.”

Cllr Brown said that the WNC seek to “maintain a healthy stock of council-owned accommodation”, but that they ultimately do “need private sector assistance to fill the gap”.

WNC officers will work over the coming weeks to finalise the fully costed proposal for Broadmead Court.