Vulnerable rough sleeper still on Wellingborough streets despite government orders

Three weeks after Government ordered every council to provide appropriate accommodation for rough sleepers, Sam Churchill is still sleeping in his tent.
Sam has been sleeping for three years in a tent in Wellingborough and despite government orders the council has not found him anywhere to stay.( Not Sam's tent pictured).Sam has been sleeping for three years in a tent in Wellingborough and despite government orders the council has not found him anywhere to stay.( Not Sam's tent pictured).
Sam has been sleeping for three years in a tent in Wellingborough and despite government orders the council has not found him anywhere to stay.( Not Sam's tent pictured).

A Wellingborough homeless man who has mental health issues has not been housed by the council despite a government order more than three weeks ago to find all rough sleepers accommodation.

Despite visits to the council, calls to the police and contacting MP Peter Bone, Sam Churchill, 24, is still sleeping in a tent while the pandemic continues to kill people in the community.

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All housing authorities were ordered on March 26 by housing minister Luke Hall to make sure rough sleepers were housed in appropriate accommodation by March 29. They were given additional funds to do so.

But 23 days on Sam, who has attention deficit disorder, is still waiting to be put up.

He was offered temporary accommodation 30 miles away in Peterborough but would rather stay on the streets than move so far away from his local area and he was also unwilling to leave his dog Wade. The authority is now expecting him to find his own accommodation and he could be helped into a property such as a HMO. But as yet nothing has materialised.

His mother Gill says she is very worried about her son, who has tried to commit suicide on a number of occasions since he was a teenager.

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She said: “I am so anxious about Sam. He has been living rough for three years and has never been helped by the council. He keeps himself out of the way and I am not sure where he gets food from. He has been to ask the council for help, and so have I, but he has not been found anywhere. The police put a card on his tent with a number to call for help but when I rang it, there was no-one there. I left a message but have not heard back.

He won’t leave his dog because that is what keeps him going and what gives his life purpose.

“He is also a bad asthmatic and should be shielded. I can’t have him with me here at the moment, as I am on the vulnerable list and it is just not possible.”

While trying to get help for her son Gill, who lives in Billing, said she had called the council’s housing department on his behalf on March 26 but says she was shouted at by a member of the housing team who asked her ‘why she was not looking after her own son?’. She has since made a complaint to the authority which is being looked into. She has also been in touch with MP Peter Bone’s office who has been in touch with the authority’s housing team which is led by housing manager Theresa Chapman.

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But as yet Sam has not been provided with a safe indoor accommodation appropriate for his needs as per the Government’s order to all local authorities.

She has since made a complaint and has also taken up the matter with the town’s MP Peter Bone.

Sam, who is a qualified plumber, has been living on the streets of Wellingborough since his family split up when he was 18. He did live for a time in a friend’s shed, but for the past three years has been sleeping in a tent.

He was diagnosed with ADHD and obsessive compulsive disorder as a teenager and sufferers from depression.

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He was put on medication a few years ago which caused his mental health to worsen and led to him trying to take his life. Since then he refused to take any medication and his experiences of being let down by public bodies has led him to not trust the system. After one meeting with an authority at which he wrongly thought he was going to be given help, he walked out in front of a car in an attempt to end his life.

He has three times tried to enter himself onto Wellingborough Council’s housing list but has not been able to get to the end of the form filling.

Mrs Churchill’s concerns for her son were put to Wellingborough Council which said it would not comment on individual cases.

It said: “Our housing team is working with anyone who has requested support from the service to provide them with the help they need.”

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The authority says it has helped 35 rough sleepers in the borough into temporary accommodation since the pandemic hit the country. It says each person is contacted daily by the council’s rough sleeper team to ensure their wellbeing and make sure they are being provided with food by the town’s voluntary network.

In recent times the treatment of rough sleepers in Wellingborough has been called into question. The authority does not run a night shelter despite a significant number of rough sleepers in the town. Instead a local charity has teamed up with the town’s private school to look after people without a bed to sleep on this winter.

Last year a 74-year-old pensioner was left by the council to sleep outside the Nationwide Bank and local estate agents had to come to his aid to find him accommodation.

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