Bids by homeless support services to take on the management of a brand new 41-bed hostel in Hemel Hempstead are being submitted as work finally begins on the ambitious build.
Initial ‘enabling works’ on the Redbourn Road site began in October and construction of the modern development began officially this month.
The work is expected to take 15 months and will feature the creation of residential space, an IT suite, library and communal garden.
Andrew Liversidge, chief executive of Dacorum homelessness charity DENS, believes the need for the service is greater than ever, with up to 100 people in the borough sleeping rough each night.
He said: “It is excellent news that the hostel in Hemel Hempstead is being built.
“We are very much looking forward to its completion.
“It’s not before time, as there is currently a massive housing shortage and the needs are greater than ever.”
Last year DENS recorded more than 3,400 visits to its current 10-bed night shelter in the town.
The charity is now waiting for the service level agreement to be finalised which will allow DENS, together with other organisations, to bid for the provision of services to the new hostel. This is expected to be decided later this month.
The project has been more than a decade in the making, but plans were finally approved by Dacorum Borough Council’s Development Control Committee in September.
There had been some debate among councillors as to the hostel’s futuristic design, which will be set back from Redbourn Road at the site of the former Elms bungalow used by Druglink.
Artist’s impressions feature shades of red as well as protruding black ‘boxes’.
The completed hostel is expected to open by the end of next year.