Council and local charity devise new post-covid plan to keep rough sleepers off the streets

A new customised facility and service within the One YMCA hostel in Charter Place has been jointly designed and mobilised to become home to some of Watford’s rough sleeping community by Watford Borough Council and One YMCA.

As well as providing accommodation, the 22 room facility will also provide mental health and substance abuse support to vulnerable single people with the goal of setting them on the pathway to recovery and more independent living.

Since the outbreak of coronavirus, some of the town’s rough sleepers have been living temporarily at the Travelodge in Watford town centre so they could self-isolate and get access to medical care. This arrangement finishes at the end of June and people will transfer over to the new facility over the coming weeks.

Elected Mayor of Watford Peter Taylor said “We want to do all we can to make sure that no one in our town has to sleep rough. Because of the complexity of the issues around homelessness we know that accommodation on its own is not enough – people need support with a range of complicated issues to help them to turn their lives around. This new facility with OneYMCA is set up to do just that and we are pleased to able to work with them to make sure this happens."

Guy Foxell CEO of One YMCA said “One of the key objectives of One YMCA alongside everything else we do as a charity is to combat homelessness and support all those that we help in our community to live life to the full and to achieve their full potential - that’s what this new facility is all about. We are really pleased to be working in partnership with Watford Borough Council on this pilot scheme – we are aligned in our goal to make rough sleeping a thing of the past”

Separate provision is also currently in hand for rough sleepers with extremely complex care needs and for homeless people who don’t qualify for welfare benefits or housing.