Northampton Borough Council's predicted overspend for 19/20 increases to £887,000
The growing need to house people in temporary accommodation has seen Northampton Borough Council forecast overspending its budget for 2019/20 by £887,000.
The latest forecast was discussed at a recent cabinet meeting on January 22, in which cabinet member for finance Councillor Brandon Eldred reiterated how much of a ‘serious issue’ homelessness was becoming in the town.
But he said: “We are working behind the scenes to combat this and I’m confident that later on things will start turning for the better and look a bit rosier.
“There’s money in reserves for us to use and we don’t want to put people's health at risk. We want to make sure that they have a place to live and feel at home.”
The £887,000 figure is based on the council’s finances up until the end of November and is an increase on the last estimated overspend, which stood £793,000. Overspend associated with temporary accommodation makes up almost £450,000 of the total amount.
Last April, the borough council put together a 14-point action plan to try and tackle the crisis. Between March 2016 and February 2019, the number of households applying to the council for assistance under homelessness legislation more than doubled and the number of households living in temporary accommodation more than quadrupled from 66 to 324.
One of the key reasons for this leap, the council said, was a ‘severe shortage’ of social rented properties in the town, as well as new legislation that gives them a duty to provide to relieve homelessness for a wider range of eligible people.