Fund totalling £100k to help homeless and vulnerable people scrapped by Northamptonshire County Council

The fund helped homeless people to live by themselves
The fund helped homeless people to live by themselves
  • SILS was set up to keep people in their own home
  • Fund set up in 2013
  • It gave £100k to vulnerable people in six months

Grants to help hospital patients or homeless people live independently have been scrapped by Northamptonshire County Council.

SILS was set up by the County Council in April 2013 due to changes brought about by the Welfare Reform Act 2012.

The purpose of the fund was to help people in transition from care, hospital or homelessness so they did not have to be looked after by another organisation such as a care home or homeless centre.

Charity Link, who gave out the grants on the council’s behalf, say that, in the six months before its closure, grants totalling about £100,000 were given out to people who met the strict eligibility criteria.

Councillor Danielle Stone, leader of Northampton Labour Group, said the SILS scheme was a lifeline to many people.

She said: “It is appalling that the County Council decided to stop it at short notice without giving any consideration as to what should take its place in the future.

“SILS was about providing the essential items that maintain a certain quality of life like children having beds to sleep on, having a washing machine or a cooker to help provide nutritional meals for the family.”

My fear now is that scrapping the SILS will mean more vulnerable people getting into debt to buy the essential items for the home.”

SILS was used by social welfare professionals at the county council, Northampton Borough Council and others.

Grants were allocated according to a certain criteria to help vulnerable people, such as after a period of homelessness, to purchase essential items.

The Labour Group has now put forward a motion to the next full council on June 8 calling on Northampton Borough Council to petition the County Council to get SILS reinstated or kept temporarily in place whilst another longer term solution is found.

Councillor Stone said: “Unfortunately, there is nothing similar that can provide this service in Northampton and charities are already struggling with high demand for other services and funding cuts.”