Watford Borough Council together with homelessness prevention charities New Hope and OneYMCA will for the second year run a humanitarian winter night shelter for the town’s rough sleepers.
Based at One YMCA in the town centre, the shelter provides a safe place for people to sleep, away from the cold winter weather and the dangers of the street. It opened on 1 December 2019 and will run until 31 March 2020.
The service ensures extra support is provided during the cold winter months when temperatures can be around 0°C (Celsius) or less. Rough sleepers can be particularly vulnerable at this time of year, due to ill health and lack of financial means to keep themselves warm or protect themselves from illness.
The Night Shelter will have up to 19 beds for men and women and will open from 9pm every evening to 7am the following morning. If temperatures go below 0oC and the shelter gets full, extra beds will be made available at New Hope.
As well as food and accommodation, other health and support services will be offered to shelter users with the aim of supporting them towards independent living in stable accommodation.
In 2018, 105 different individuals used the winter shelter. Feedback shows the project supported shelter users to pursue a life off the streets with 30% of people subsequently finding a home with a housing association, in the private rented sector or in supported housing or with family and friends.
Over 70 volunteers have signed up to help over the four-month period.
If you do see someone sleeping rough, please call New Hope’s 24/7 helpline 0300 012 0168 or report their position with the Streetlink app on your mobile phone. find out more here www.watford.gov.uk/news/article/873/winter_night_shelter_supporting_watford_s_rough_sleepers