Homeless epidemic worsens in Wellingborough as cases double

Homeless numbers are rising in towns throughout the county.
Homeless numbers are rising in towns throughout the county.

The homeless epidemic in Wellingborough is continuing to worsen with the already high number of cases doubling since April this year.

Wellingborough council is now typically seeing 72 households a month present themselves as homeless and in need of temporary accommodation.

This is up from an average of 30 homeless households going to the council for help throughout 2017/18.

In response the council is planning to spend just under £1.5m on buying ten properties to house the town’s homeless.

The authority already has five homes in the town centre under offer and it’s officers are now recommending that councillors approve a further £725,000 so it can purchase another five properties.

Like all towns in the county the authority is dealing with a homeless epidemic as people struggle to keep up with private rent payments or lose their own homes because of financial difficulties.

The home buy-up move by the Wellingborough authority is being made to help reduce the high costs of housing people in temporary accommodation such as bed and breakfasts and hotels.

Last financial year the authority spent just under £1.1m on temporary accommodation to house 366 households who lost the roof over their heads. This was a three-fold increase on the £353,000 spent in 2016/17.

This year it has already spent £722,000 on temporary accommodation since April and predicts that by March it will have spent £1.2m. So far between 3 April and 5 October the council has had 433 applications under the homeless reduction act.

A report to be considered by the authority’s resources committee on October 31st says: “To help mitigate the costs of temporary accommodation the council is due to complete imminently on three properties acquired from the open market and a further two are in progress. There is an opportunity to acquire a further five units through additional capital investment. These properties will be made available to people who would otherwise be using bed and breakfast or nightly paid accommodation. Council owned properties will be considered for this purpose when they become vacant.”

The authority has also strengthened its housing staff team to make sure that people facing homelessness are helped quicker and also that less costly accommodation is identified quickly.