Call for action to help Corby’s homeless

Dennis Binks and a tent seen in a Corby wood. NNL-180105-114525005
Dennis Binks and a tent seen in a Corby wood. NNL-180105-114525005

A volunteer who feeds the town’s homeless is calling on Corby Council to do more to help before someone dies.

Dennis Binks, who runs the Corinthian Church Homeless Mission, says the authority needs to do more.

A number of the town’s homeless men are sleeping in an unauthorised tent camp in Thoroughsale Woods.

And there are thought to be a number of other camps across the town’s woodlands.

Mr Binks, whose mission serves a daily hot meal for up to 35 homeless people, said: “The council take a wide berth from me because I tell them the truth and have done for years.

“They have never visited our shelter and have never reacted to us.

“They knew fully well of the plight of the homeless in Corby for many years and turned a blind eye to it.

“They are blinkered to the truth but one day a homeless person in those woods will die.”

He said during the snowy weather in March he had to call an ambulance for one Latvian man who had collapsed after sleeping out in the cold.

Another man was badly burned after his tent was set on fire.

Five rough sleepers have died in Northampton since the start of the year.

All borough councils have a duty to give support to people who are threatened with homelessness or are without a place to live.

The new Homeless Reduction Act, which came into effect last month (April), increased these duties and in response Corby Council has employed additional staff in its housing department as well as a dedicated temporary accommodation officer.

Latest figures show that 146 homeless cases were presented to the council in 2017/18, more than double the number of cases four years previously. A high percentage of the cases are families.

A spokesman for Corby Council said: “We encourage engagement through our Community Safety Team who interact and monitor those areas where there are known rough sleepers (including investigating reports of new areas of rough sleeping) on a daily basis.

“When they do engage with us they are entitled to the full assessment as required by Homelessness Reduction Act.

“This includes determining if they come under the criteria for a priority need and therefore will be offered temporary accommodation if they do.  

“And if they don’t, then advice on how to seek and secure accommodation, including financial support through the deposit bond scheme and assistance through the homeless prevention fund.”

The volunteer sector in the town is providing a number of services for the homeless.

Washing and food facilities are provided at West Glebe Park twice weekly and Corby Nightlight has been providing shelter for a number of homeless throughout the winter months at a church in Corby.

They hope to open a permanent shelter in the coming months.

All food cooked and served by the Corinthian Church Homeless Mission from its base in Elizabeth Street has been donated.

Anyone who knows of a rough sleeper can gain help for them by calling the council’s Housing Options Team on 01536 464629/31 or by completing this online form.