Northampton

Kettering homeless: Council plans to re-open boarded up hostel

Wellington House Image copyright Google
Image caption Wellington House in Kettering opened in 2002 but closed earlier this year

A council plans to buy and re-open a boarded-up hostel in a bid to try to ease its growing homelessness problem.

Kettering Borough Council has 27 new approaches from households at threat of losing their home each week.

Wellington House, in Kettering, was closed by its owner the Home Group earlier this year.

The council said the hostel is needed "to provide accommodation and support for the most vulnerable people in our community".

The building was taken over in 2015 by the Home Group, a UK-wide housing association, and was used by the council to temporarily house people on its waiting list.

The Home Group shut the hostel in March after it "changed its business model" and has attempted to "identify a viable future use for the building", a council report said.

The authority has now contacted the Home Group "to sell the building to the council so that it can be put back into use", according to the Local Democracy Reporting Service.

Homelessness in Northamptonshire:

The Conservative-run authority said it has 234 families in temporary accommodation in Kettering - using 150 of its council houses at a cost of almost £1m a year.

By comparison neighbouring Corby Borough Council has 22 families in temporary housing.

At a previous council meeting Mick Scrimshaw, the Labour opposition leader on Kettering Borough Council, said homelessness should be the "number one strategic priority for the council".

The report to the council's executive committee, which meets on 18 September, said that if they were unable to buy the hostel then "officers should draw up some alternatives for consideration by the committee in 2020".

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