New housing scheme to help local people in need

Published Monday 5 July 2021

Local people who have lost their homes, or have nowhere to go, will be helped thanks to a new housing scheme.

Harborough District Council has acquired a property in Market Harborough town centre, close to The Symington Building, which will serve a place for people to stay until they are able to find permanent accommodation. 

HousingThe residential property is currently dilapidated and 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.

Cllr Simon Whelband, Harborough District Council’s Cabinet lead for Wellbeing, Communities and Housing, said: “We are living in a 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. 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.

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 aim is to create temporary accommodation for homeless people with 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.