Hope is there for the homeless community of Northampton whatever the weather, however, our services and how we support the community understandably come under greater scrutiny when the cold weather hits.
Anyone with a heart feels for those who find themselves without shelter and the basics of life when the weather deteriorates and that is why we as a charity work throughout the year to ensure as many people as possible are off the streets permanently.
2020/21 winter has already seen horrendous weather with cold, strong winds and torrential rain, this is why in December we called, along with the wider homelessness forum, for a review into the policy for activation of SWEP (Severe Weather Emergency Protocol) in Northampton.
Thanks in part to that review and the constant pressure we exert on behalf of our service users, we were able to see SWEP activated over the festive period. We were of course also able to organize Christmas access to beds at a hotel, thanks to Bounds Taxi, which kicked in prior to to the severe weather.
Our work continued throughout this period with homeless people having access to our normal day time services of hot and cold food, clothes, showers etc, and longer term solutions like access to housing. As the primary physical contact point for all rough sleepers we were able to make referrals and advocate for specific individuals so that many individuals could access SWEP who were in need of help during the severe weather. It was through our service delivery and with the support of partner agencies and the incredible Northampton community that we were able to get the message out to the homeless, above and beyond the official communications from NBC. Whilst there were a few people still outside, this is not uncommon, given some made a deliberate decision not to use the service. Hope had no hand in the admission process nor official communications: but we communicated to everyone we saw – the vast majority of rough sleepers.
We continue to feed anyone in SWEP during the day and with take away packs for the evening.
Our staff and volunteers were on hand to help the service if and when needed.
Our advocacy work for individuals and the pressure we maintain on those in charge of policy and service delivery both locally and nationally will never stop. We are proud that we influence what is happening and the provisions that are put in place for people who find themselves in truly hard times.
Hope’s mission is to provide a long term solution to (and prevention of) homelessness, working with individuals to help them build a future for themselves.
The homeless are at the heart of our organisation where they have been for 47 years and we will continue to champion for their rights.