Making sure the homeless aren’t forgotten

Date 18.01.2021

Vulnerable people in the town facing homelessness can continue enjoying a safe, warm night in thanks to an agreement to use vacant student rooms being restarted.

University of Northampton (UON) rooms – currently empty – have been used as emergency accommodation since a successful pilot during the summer period.

The need was to make sure people in the town who were sleeping rough were housed to keep them safe during the height of the pandemic.

With support from Northampton’s Single Homelessness Forum, 26 of the people housed – with three meals each day, toiletries, a laundry service and support to find work and medical treatment – were then successfully moved into more permanent accommodation.

During the colder weather period, the 25 empty rooms were again made available to house those in need, but only on a short-term basis.

The new, longer-term agreement starts on Tuesday 19 January and runs for 72 days and includes returning the rooms to the condition they are currently in when the agreement finishes.

Becky Bradshaw, UON Director of Estates & Campus Services, said: “As overnight temperatures have yo-yoed from cold to freezing, it was absolutely the right decision to work once more with Northampton Borough Council to provide this vitally important support service.

“There is a national campaign to make sure people experiencing homelessness are not forgotten during the coronavirus pandemic, and we are more than happy to support the Council in ensuring that this does not happen in Northamptonshire.

“This partnership is one of the many good deeds to support our community that the University and our staff and students have naturally engaged with during the pandemic, something we will continue to do during these most testing of times.”

Vacant student rooms have also been used to temporarily house other vulnerable people, including domestic abuse victims. Details about this and UON’s other good deeds during the pandemic can be found on our website.