Councils in north Northamptonshire are continuing to provide emergency accommodation for rough sleepers during this cold weather period.
Last night Wellingborough Council provided bed and breakfast accommodation for 14 rough sleepers from the town, Corby Council accommodated seven people, Kettering has been helping 12 homeless people escape the cold and one person has been provided emergency shelter by East Northants Council since its Severe Weather Emergency Protocol (SWEP) was enacted two weeks ago.
Wellingborough Council says SWEP will run until next Monday (Feb 4) and could be extended and Corby is currently expecting to offer a service until Sunday.
All councils in the country have a duty to provide warmth and shelter for rough sleepers in severe weather.
A spokesman for Corby Council, which brought in SWEP two weeks ago, said: “We have accommodated a total of 16 persons during SWEP and we are currently accommodating seven people.
“The longest someone has been accommodated is 13 consecutive nights.”
Corby’s rough sleepers are being put up in bed and breakfast accommodation as the council says the night shelter that operates from the former police station is at full capacity.
Rough sleeping is a growing issue in the county, with many tented communities setting up in woodland and church graveyards.
East Northants has the lowest number of rough sleepers. Its SWEP is delivered by the Sanctuary Night Shelter in Rushden which is run by charity East Northants Community Services.
The shelter has six beds and offers rough sleepers housing and counselling services to help them get back on their feet. People can stay for up to three months at the night shelter and the service says it has a great success rate of helping people move on and back into accommodation.
Manager Maria Borg said this winter had seen a lower number of people than normal coming to its emergency shelter.
She said: “This year we are experiencing the lowest numbers of people who are coming to us through the SWEP. Some people do not want to take it up because they may not want to give up their drugs or alcohol. They also perhaps fear giving up their tent and then having it taken, although we of course say they can bring their tent in here.”