£1.3m funding plan proposed by West Northants Council to buy 10 homes for rough sleepers

Aim to provide accommodation for rough sleepers to help reduce numbers living on the street

Wednesday, 7th July 2021, 12:22 pm
Updated Wednesday, 7th July 2021, 12:24 pm
Rough sleepers in Northampton
Rough sleepers in Northampton

Funding of £1.32m is being proposed by West Northamptonshire Council to buy and refurbish 10, one bedroom homes to provide accommodation for rough sleepers.

On July 1, the council submitted an application for funding for the government’s Rough Sleeping Accommodation Programme (RSAP), which covers the West Northamptonshire Council area.

The programme's aim is to provide accommodation for rough sleepers, available as long-term assets, and accompanying support services to reduce the number of people sleeping rough.

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The purchases of the homes will be funded through a combination of the council's Housing Revenue Account (HRA) and Homes England grant funding, which is pending approval.

The funding application also includes a proposal for revenue for a tenancy sustainment officer, a fixed term for two and a half years, to work with rough sleepers identified as part of the programme to help them into more settled accommodation.

At a meeting of the council's cabinet on Tuesday (July 13), it is recommended Council approve the increase in HRA Capital programme of £1.32m to purchase and refurbish the 10, one bedroom properties through the HRA, in order to accommodate and support people who have been sleeping rough or are threatened with sleeping rough, funded by Ministry for Housing Communities and Local Government/Homes England RSAP grant and HRA borrowing.

A report to the cabinet states: 'The Rough Sleeping Accommodation Programme is part of a range of measures to meet the government’s commitment to ending rough sleeping, including the former Rough Sleeper Initiative and the Next Steps Accommodation Programme (NSAP) funding bids.

'The former Northampton Borough Council secured funding for the NSAP programme in August 2020.

'The bid included the purchase and refurbishment of 15, one-bedroom properties for rough sleepers, including those that needed to move out of emergency accommodation to prepare themselves for social or private tenancies.

'Since the successful NSAP bid, 15, one-bedroom flats across Northampton have been acquired and refurbished.

'All 15 properties have been offered to customers, with the last customers moving in at the end of June 2021. These homes are being managed by Northampton Partnership Homes and the residents are being supported by a dedicated tenancy sustainment officer.

'The success of NSAP and a requirement for additional properties has prompted an application for further funding from the RSAP.'

The report goes on to state: 'It is envisaged that the properties to be procured through the scheme will be a combination of ex-council homes (i.e. people wishing to sell their properties back to the council via the Right of First Refusal), as well as exploring opportunities on the open market across the West Northants area.

'Properties will be close and easily accessible to the relevant support services.

'Regard will also be had to the ease of maintenance and management, to any social or community implications of the proposed uses, and to any strategic property issues in the area concerned.

'As with the NSAP scheme, customers would be given a two year non-secure tenancy agreement, during which time they would be supported by a dedicated tenancy sustainment officer and the relevant support services, in preparation for more settled accommodation, either in the social or private sector.'