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Council partners with Northampton Hope Centre to open temporary winter night shelter

Community, safety and emergencies

15 January 2024

A person standing in a night shelter with three beds

In response to the rise in homelessness, the Hope Centre in partnership with West Northamptonshire Council (WNC) has opened a winter night shelter. The Hope Centre, a lifeline for those experiencing homelessness, are witnessing a record influx of individuals seeking support, with an alarming 1-3 newly homeless individuals registering for support daily over the Christmas period.

Homelessness and rough sleeping is a significant issue across the country and there is concern that many people are unaware of the harsh realities of rough sleeping, particularly as winter approaches.

Cold weather is a serious threat to anyone sleeping outside, there is the risk of hypothermia and death, we are already seeing a record increase in the numbers of people facing homelessness, and during the winter months we always see numbers rise.

While temperatures have been un seasonally low, we are anticipating a cold and unsettled winter to come. We have a duty of care to protect the most vulnerable and with numbers rising, and many new to experiencing rough sleeping, providing somewhere safe for people to sleep in the harshest of weather must be a priority.
Alex Copeland, CEO of the Hope Centre

The night shelter is the result of weeks of behind-the-scenes preparation and collaboration with WNC.

The establishment of the new night shelter represents one of the biggest expansions of support for Northampton’s rough sleepers in years. I want people to know that we are determined to do everything in our power to help those who find themselves homeless, and the new night shelter is just one aspect of our offer.

It has taken a lot of work alongside Northampton Hope Centre to provide this temporary overnight accommodation so that those who find themselves in a housing crisis can avoid sleeping on the streets. As a council we are continuing to work hard to prevent homelessness early on and we are working with a range of partners to provide access to specialist support for those who need it.

Our ultimate ambition will always be to get people into permanent accommodation, but in the meantime, I am proud that we are expanding the emergency support on offer. We are also carrying out an extensive reform of our homelessness service to increase early intervention and prevention work as well as extra investment in staff for this service to help manage an increasing demand.
Cllr Adam Brown, Deputy Leader of West Northamptonshire Council and Cabinet Member for Housing, Culture and Leisure

The night shelter, located at Queens Grove Methodist Church, will be a 7-day service to give emergency accommodation to those who find themselves in housing crisis. The overnight service will form part of Hope’s wider support process during the winter months which also includes extended hours at their day centre.

As with all Hope services the night shelter will be integral to their holistic approach to the problems associated with homelessness, giving individuals the critical support they need to cope with the traumas that have resulted in them becoming homeless and helping people rebuild lives.

The Hope Centre, celebrating its 50th birthday opened the temporary night shelter as a pilot project with a view to open a permanent night shelter as part of its anniversary goals. It is with thanks to the success of their winter appeal and support from West Northamptonshire council that they have been able to raise enough to open the temporary shelter this month.

With numbers rising as they are and with the lack of enough alternative accommodation this winter, we have a duty to protect the most vulnerable. I don’t want to be here talking about how many people died on the streets during the winter of 2024.

Homelessness is the very end of a journey thousands of people across the UK are navigating as income fails to match living expenses, debts are spiralling, and rents rise. These are just some of the many reasons people find themselves on the streets, and I’m afraid we are at the coalface of this social crisis.
Alex Copeland, CEO of the Hope Centre

The Hope Centre concedes there is a cost to running the shelter but believes the service will save lives. The centre continues to rely heavily on public donations and the support of local businesses to support people facing homelessness and hardship and have launched an appeal for funding for their birthday year.

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