A new night shelter for Corby's large homeless community will be opened before the winter sets in after a group was appointed to run the service.
It had been feared that the new shelter in Dorking Walk might not be open in time for the cold weather because Corby Council had not been able to appoint anyone to run it and that the community of about 40 rough sleepers would have to spend the winter months in tents in the woods.
But now East Northants Community Services (ENCS) have been contracted by the council to run the two-step shelter and supported housing complex on the Kingswood estate.
It will replace the winter night shelter that was operated by Corby Nightlight in the town's old police station throughout last winter.
ENCS, which is the corporate arm of the East Northants Faith Group, has run the successful Sanctuary night shelter in Rushden for more than a decade.
The Corby shelter is expected to be open before the winter season sets in and will keep its doors open all year round to ensure that anyone who is, or is at threat of, rough sleeping has an option to resolve the situation.
The shelter is designed to provide a bed for the night while support workers will help homeless people access the support that they need to find their own pathway to independent and sustainable housing.
The council has budgeted £130,000 for amendments at the boarded-up homes which will involve a five dormitories at 82 Dorking Walk which can sleep 16 people plus a two-bedroom Home of Multiple Occupancy (HMO) at 98 Dorking Walk and a three-bedroom HMO at 100 Dorking Walk. Each unit will have a separate access and a staff office will be created at 100 Dorking Walk.
Number 82 would be the first stop for rough sleepers with the HMO accommodation offering a ‘second step’.
About £115,000 of the money came from a Government Rough Sleeping Initiative, topped-up by cash from the council's own coffers.
Corby Borough Council’s Lead Member for Housing, Cllr Bob Eyles, said: “With rough sleeping becoming a growing concern nationally, it’s great news that we are in a position to tackle the issue within the Borough as best we can.
"We thank East Northants Community Services for expressing their interest and we look forward to working with them in the future to help not only keep people off the streets, but to provide much needed support and advice to get users of the shelter back on their feet.”
Operations Manager at East Northants Community Services Jo Burns said: “We have been running a night shelter and supporting individuals in Rushden for over 10 years and hope to utilise this knowledge and experience to manage this new project in Corby. Our aim is not only to provide a bed, but support and resources for individuals to move into more permanent housing. We are excited by our new partnership with Corby Borough Council and look forward to working with them with the shared aim of supporting those in need.”
As part of their dedication to the night shelter, ENCS will also be looking for volunteers who are passionate about helping those in need in the community.
If you have a couple of evenings or nights to spare a few times a month, or even once a week, visit the website, where you can find more details on how to apply.
The group will be looking for people to cover an evening shift (6pm-10pm) and then a sleeping night shift (10pm-9am).
Anyone who can help in other ways can also get in touch via email on firstname.lastname@example.org.