100 are homeless and 10 sleep rough every night

thegazette@jpress.co.uk
thegazette@jpress.co.uk

Dacorum’s housing situation is becoming ‘increasingly desperate’ says a charity as it reveals 10 people sleep rough in the borough every night.

As the winter months approach and the borough celebrates an unemployment rate of less than three per cent there are people sleeping in the borough’s car parks, public parks, sheds and shop doorways every night, says homelessness cause DENS.

“The situation is getting worse,” said chief executive Andrew Liversidge. “Rising demand, particularly amongst young people under 25, against a backdrop of national welfare reform, economic recession, unemployment and the decrease in funding and grants to DENS, we face an increasingly desperate situation.”

Paul Latimer, the night shelter manager at DENS, says he has noticed a 20 per cent increase in the number of rough sleepers since 2011 and has nine people every night on the waiting list for a bed.

He attributes the increase, particularly acute among young people aged 18-25, to the state of the economy and relationship breakdowns.

DENS, based in Hemel Hempstead, says the most recent statistics show there are up to 100 people who are homeless in Dacorum.

This includes rough sleepers and so-called ‘sofa surfers’ – people who sleep on sofas of friends and or relatives.

DENS hosted a business and community lunch at the Civic Centre, Marlowes, on Friday, to drum up support.

The charity runs an emergency night shelter, a day centre, a rent aid scheme and an enterprises section designed to raise income from commercial activities.

>Find out more in report about DENS by turning to page 25.