New forum set up to deal with homeless families in Northampton

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A new committee is being set up to deal with families who are homeless in Northampton.

The borough council recently agreed a new homelessness and rough sleeping strategy in a bid to help tackle a problem that is having a hit on the borough council’s finances.

Northampton Borough Council overspent its budget for 2018/19 by £732,000, largely due to a £1.2 million overspend on temporary accommodation for homeless people.

During the last three years, the number of households applying to the council for assistance under homelessness legislation has more than doubled and, between March 2016 and February 2019, the number of households living in temporary accommodation more than quadrupled from 66 to 324.

But now, following a successful workshop in November, it has been agreed that the council will set up a Family Homelessness Forum that will meet quarterly to deal with all homelessness issues except those relating to single homeless people and childless couples.

The first meeting of the forum is due to take place in February 2020. It follows on from the first Single Homelessness Forum which was held in October, and is due to meet for a second time on January 14.

That was set up after MHCLG and Homeless Link facilitated discussions between the Council, the Hope Centre and Churches Together in Northampton in order to resolve tensions between the various groups. During those meetings, it was said the new Forum would ‘improve relationships’.