Wellingborough council agrees £1.75m to buy houses for homeless

The number of people becoming homeless in Wellingborough is higher than ever.
The number of people becoming homeless in Wellingborough is higher than ever.

Wellingborough Council has decided to commit £1.75m to buy up properties to accommodate the rapidly rising number of households arriving at its offices having lost their homes.

At a meeting on Wednesday(Oct 31) the council decided to add an additional £1m to the £725,000 already agreed to purchase homes for those in need.

In total the council will buy more than ten properties, with five already under offer.

An average of 75 households each month in the Wellingborough borough are declaring themselves homeless in an epidemic that has been rising across UK towns for the past two years.

Council Leader Martin Griffith said: “This funding will enable a number of families to spend Christmas in a proper home, as opposed to bed and breakfast accommodation.

“We are working alongside councils in North Northamptonshire, in particular Corby, who we are collaborating closely with to deliver and develop housing best practice, ensuring that residents have a safe and warm place to sleep at night.”

The funds to buy the properties will come from capital reserves.

Despite the new homes the authority will still need to pay substantial sums on temporary accommodation to help its homeless residents.

In the 2017/18 financial year the authority spent £1.25m on temporary accommodation. This compares to £387,000 spent in 2016/17.

Plans for a permanent night shelter for the town’s homeless are also forging ahead.

The Wellingborough Homeless forum is hoping that the council will grant a change of use application so that the former British Leyland social club off the Embankment in the grounds of Wellingborough School can be turned into a night shelter.

It is proposed that the shelter will be open between 8pm and 7.30am, with the premises closed during the day. Council officers have recommended that the plans are approved subject to conditions. The application will be discussed by the planning committee in the council chamber at Swanspool House, Wellingborough, from 7pm on Wednesday (November 7).