Project launched to get rough sleepers 'Safe and Sound' as Covid-19 Omicron cases spread across West Northamptonshire

Charities and council come together to offer help to homeless during winter

By The Newsroom
Wednesday, 22nd December 2021, 8:52 am

Local charities have launched a 'Safe and Sound' protect people sleeping rough from the spread of Covid-19 in and around Northampton over Christmas and into the New Year.

All the area's known rough sleepers are being given details of how to access the winter accommodation, individual rooms that will provide somewhere safe to stay, regular meals and bathroom facilities.

But West Northamptonshire Council, which launched the project this week in partnership with organisations from the Single Homelessness Forum is appealing for anyone who knows someone sleeping rough in Northampton, Daventry, or south Northamptonshire to get in touch.

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A project has been launched offering sanctuary to the area's rough sleepers

The service will run until the end of March through a partnership with the University of Northampton, which also supported efforts during the Government’s ‘Everyone In’ project last year.

Councillor Adam Brown, West Northamptonshire Council Cabinet Member for Housing, said: “We are working with a wide range of partners to provide this facility and we are so grateful for the support everyone is offering.

“It is vital that we do all we can to protect everyone from Covid, especially during winter when viruses tend to spread far more quickly.

“This is particularly important, now we have the Omicron variant that we know so little about, and we need to make sure everyone is up to date with their vaccinations, though we’ve already done a lot of work around this alongside Public Health England.

“We know that there might be a few people sleeping rough who are reluctant to engage with the service, and we will continue to enact our severe weather emergency protocol should we need to.”

Anyone who knows someone sleeping rough can help by:

■ Advising them to contact the relevant locality team by calling 0300 126 7000

■ Call the Northampton Outreach team directly on 07775 036773

■ Visit Street Link to make a report online

Nearly 6,000 people have tested positive for Covid-19 in Northamptonshire during the last seven days, according to government figures published on Tuesday — more than during the peak of the second wave back in January.

NHS England also confirmed six previously unreported deaths of Covid patients in Northamptonshire — five at Kettering General Hospital and one at Northampton General.

The data shows 44 people have sadly died while being treated for Covid in the county's hospitals since December 1.

Safe and Sound will run alongside services already provided through the Single Homelessness Pathway, which supports many people who are sleeping rough or are at risk of doing so.

The partnership includes a wide range of services provided by the Hope Centre — including food, employability and financial advice, and direct access to mental health support.

Charities such as the Sikh Community Centre and Youth Club are providing food, clothing and toiletries.

The scheme is being funded through the government’s Contain Outbreak Management Fund.

Father Oliver Coss, rector of All Saints Church in Northampton and a member of the Single Homelessness Forum, said: “Those involved in bringing this together have worked tirelessly for it.

“Making it happen will be a source of gladness for them, and more so for those it helps.”