Good news for homeless centre struggling to stay afloat as Dacorum Borough Council offers two-year ‘rent holiday’

DENS day centre users Robert and Paul. ENGPNL00120140131150407

DENS day centre users Robert and Paul. ENGPNL00120140131150407

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A vital day centre facility for Dacorum’s homeless which was threatened with closure earlier this year has received another welcome funding boost.

HemelToday first reported in January that the DENS base in Hemel Hempstead’s Queensway faced having to shut its doors because of a £179,000 shortfall in the charity’s funding, created by the reduction and lapse of certain grants it has come to depend on.

DENS day centre, Bury Lodge, Queensway. ENGPNL00120140121160011

DENS day centre, Bury Lodge, Queensway. ENGPNL00120140121160011

Since then, anonymous donations and funds from local businesses have flooded in to keep it open until it hears results of its renewed Big Lottery application, expected later this month.

Now, the day centre’s landlord Dacorum Borough Council has agreed to suspend the rent on Bury Lodge for two years to help keep the facility – which provides clothing, hot meals and IT facilities for homeless people during the day – running.

The council’s offer, which is worth almost £15,000 in rent payments to the charity, has been backdated to Christmas.

DENS chief executive Andrew Liversidge said: “We are very grateful to Dacorum Borough Council for this support, it is saving the DENS day centre a significant amount of money.

“This generous gesture will help DENS greatly with its finances while the charity identifies new sources of funding for the day centre. Every day, between 25 and 30 homeless people use the centre, receiving not just a free hot meal, but also vital support and advice to enable them to rebuild their lives.”

Borough council chief executive Sally Marshall said: “We are pleased to support DENS during this period to allow them time to work on their funding gap whilst ensuring that this vital service can continue.”

Click here to see a video report on the DENS day centre.

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