Watford Borough Council has been awarded over £300,000 in government funding for a two-year early intervention programme to reduce rough sleeping in Watford.
Together with New Hope, the council’s provider for homelessness services in Watford, the council successfully bid for a share of £10m funding from the Department of Communities and Local Government for rough sleeping projects demonstrating a practical and innovative approach.
The funding will be put to good use by a consortium of local agencies including New Hope, Herts Young Homeless, Citizens Advice Watford and CGL Spectrum. New Hope will manage the project on the council’s behalf.
A dedicated team of specialists from each of the agencies involved will be created to focus on identifying and supporting individuals whose circumstances put them at greater risk of rough sleeping.
New Hope’s Head of Resources, Pete Belfield said: “We are all excited by this opportunity to provide an innovative specialist service for rough sleepers.”
“The focus of this service will be to supplement the wonderful work that is already taking place at our Rough Sleeping Prevention Service by providing additional support around legal and financial advice, drug and alcohol misuse and mental ill health prevention.”
Watford Borough Council Portfolio Holder for Property and Housing, Cllr Stephen Johnson said: “The new funding is extremely welcome and allows us to take a new approach focused on early intervention.”
“We were the only council in Hertfordshire to receive this grant, which is testament to the dedication and hard work of all the agencies involved in the programme.
“We will draw on their expertise to provide comprehensive support. By helping people to sustain their current living arrangements we can also reduce the pressure on the Rough Sleeper Prevention Service, allowing the service to focus on reducing existing numbers.”
Work has already started and the programme expects to help prevent rough sleeping for a significant number of people over the two-year funding period, as well as reduce the number of entrenched rough sleepers in Watford.