Council buys a house in Harborough town centre to help temporarily homeless people in the district
It will put a roof over people’s heads until they are able to find permanent accommodation as more people lose their homes in Harborough
Harborough council has bought a property in Market Harborough to help look after temporarily homeless people as the problem becomes more serious in the district.
The authority has acquired the building in the town centre, close to the Symington Building on Adam and Eve Street.
It will put a roof over people’s heads until they are able to find permanent accommodation as more people lose their homes in Harborough.
The residential building is dilapidated.
The council plans to create a purpose-built property, subject to planning permission, which will “provide clean, safe and secure accommodation for those in need”.
“It is ideally located near to the council which will manage the building and provide ongoing support for residents who have fallen on hard times,” said the council.
Cllr Simon Whelband, the council’s Cabinet lead for wellbeing, communities and housing, said: “We are living in very challenging times and it is crucial we do all we can to help vulnerable people who have become homeless.
“This accommodation strengthens our ability to do that - and allows us to provide the support that these individuals and families desperately need.”
There has been a significant increase in homeless applications in the last three years, a situation mirrored nationwide, the council said.
“This has been due to social and economic pressures, along with new statutory duties to prevent and relieve homelessness introduced through the Homelessness Reduction Act 2017.
“Covid-19 has exacerbated this further,” said the council.
“The need for temporary accommodation has increased.
“In total, 108 households required emergency accommodation from the council in 2020/21.
“The council currently owns and manages five properties in the Harborough district which provide temporary accommodation.
“Any shortfall of temporary accommodation is commissioned from the private sector in the form of hotels or self-contained units, sometimes outside the district.
“The new facility in Market Harborough would mean less reliance on expensive private accommodation and significantly reduce costs to the council, while providing much more suitable and better quality of accommodation for vulnerable people.”
The councils aims to set up eight en-suite rooms, a shared kitchen, ancillary office and storage space.
Two of the rooms would be two-person rooms and could be used for couples.
And at least one unit will be wheelchair accessible for people with mobility needs.
“This is not a hostel for people requiring long-term specialist support.
“The length of stay would vary from one night to several weeks until they find a permanent home to move on to,” said the authority.