Funding awarded to Help rough sleepers in Watford

Watford Borough Council has been awarded £416k to continue with its existing support programme for rough sleepers and provide further initiatives that help people leave the streets and move forward with their lives in a positive way. 

The funding will allow the teams of navigators and outreach workers, based at local homelessness prevention charity New Hope, to continue providing a range of valuable wrap around services to rough sleepers in Watford including assistance with substance mis-use recovery and mental health issues and legal and financial support.

The extra resource will also go towards appointing a rough sleeper co-ordinator in the town, who will be based at Watford Borough Council and lead on implementation of the rough sleeping activities of the council’s forthcoming Homelessness and Rough Sleeper Strategy 2020-2025 and partnership working.

The council has also received extra funding to run a pilot Housing First project. Housing First is an initiative which has had significant success around the world. It provides rough sleepers with a home first and then wrap around support to tackle the issues that led to them living on the streets. Additional funding will also provide incentives to house rough sleepers in the private rented sector.

Watford will receive the largest funding in Hertfordshire and more than some London Boroughs.  This is testament to the hard work being put in by the council’s Housing Team and members of the Watford Strategic Homelessness Forum, particularly New Hope, but also reflects the scale of the issue we have in Watford.

YMCA homeless volunteer training.
Photo credit: Simon Jacobs

Elected Mayor of Watford Peter Taylor said: “This is great news for vulnerable people in Watford. No one should have to sleep rough. We are doing all we can to tackle homelessness in Watford. This funding will help New Hope and other incredible organisations in Watford provide invaluable and life changing support to people experiencing homelessness. We are not just providing shelter for those on the street but also making sure we can help them to transform their lives and stay off the streets for good. The extra funding will really help us to make a difference to people affected by homelessness and rough sleeping in our town.”