Volunteers offer help and refuge to Northampton's rough sleepers in annual borough-wide count

Volunteers found 26 rough sleepers across the borough in its annual count on Thursday.
Volunteers found 26 rough sleepers across the borough in its annual count on Thursday.

An annual count of Northampton's rough sleepers found 26 men and women bedded down across the borough's parks and streets last week.

More than 36 volunteers from the borough council, police and support agencies took part in the count on Thursday (November 1).

The total is twice the 13 men and women found in last year's count, but included nine rough sleepers the borough council's outreach team had never met before.

The count also did not take in the 17 people using the borough council's emergency night shelter or individuals sleeping in known tent encampments as per Government regulations.

Northampton Borough Council organised the statutory count in line with Government regulations and saw the teams of volunteers seek out and engage with people sleeping rough.

Of the 22 males and four females that were found sleeping rough, 17 were already known to the council’s street outreach team, who regularly engage with the town's disadvantaged sleepers.

The emergency night shelter, in St Andrew's Street has had 242 guests since it opened in February 2017, and has successfully moved 157 people into settled accommodation.

Councillor Stephen Hibbert, cabinet member for housing and wellbeing, said: “I’d like to thank all the volunteers who gave up their time to take part in the count.

“Sleeping rough is dangerous and has a serious impact on people’s health and wellbeing. The count is an essential yearly activity to keep updated on numbers and provide additional opportunities for reaching out and offering support to those in need.

“Despite the increase in numbers of rough sleepers found, we are really proud of what the council’s night shelter has achieved in such a short time. We will now follow up the information collected during the count, with the aim of getting each rough sleeper found off of the streets. The information will also help us plan our services in coming years.”

For more information about the night shelter and how to get involved, visit www.northampton.gov.uk/northamptonnightshelter