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.
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.”
- The Intervention/Navigators Team is multi-agency, multi-disciplinary with specialist knowledge of substance abuse recovery and mental health issues, and legal and financial issues. The agencies involved are New Hope, CGL Spectrum, hertsyounghomeless and Citizens Advice Watford. Likewise, the Street Outreach Service is staffed by officers from New Hope, CGL Spectrum and hertsyounghomeless engaging with rough sleepers where they are on the streets and working with them to assess and assist with resolving substance mis-use and mental health issues they may have. They work closely with the Intervention Team to ensure legal and financial issues are resolved and enabled into settled housing.
- Watford Strategic Homelessness Forum began in July 2016 and has met 6-7 times per year since. Its purpose is to reduce homelessness and improve services and provision for people and households at risk of or actually homeless within the Watford Borough Council area.
- The membership comprises: New Hope, GROW, OneYMCA, hertsyounghomeless, JobCentre Plus, Citizens Advice Watford, Watford Community Housing, Hightown, Aldwyck, the Meadowell Surgery, CGL Spectrum, Hertfordshire County Council and the Hertfordshire Partnership University Foundation Trust, Watford Borough Council’s Housing and Revenues and Benefits Teams and the Community Safety Partnership.
- YMCA Volunteers phot below.