Dacorum has been named as one of the places with the highest rates of homelessness in the UK.
A new report from homeless charity Shelter found that the area was in the top 50 in the country for the number of people either in temporary accommodation or sleeping rough.
It also indicates that one in every 175 people in the area would be classified as homeless.
Dacorum Borough Council has said that ‘reducing homelessness in the borough is a priority’, and it is working with local charity DENS to tackle it.
Dacorum Borough Council’s Assistant Director (Housing), Elliott Brookes, said: “We are continuing to work with various local organisations and charities to work with the homeless or those at risk of homelessness.
“We are also looking into working with other organisations to provide new solutions or accommodation in the area.”
DENS chief executive Wendy Lewington said she was ‘very concerned’ unless significant changes were made to universal credit rollouts and support services.
The report from Shelter, released earlier this month, places Dacorum as the 44th worst in the UK, and reveals there are 867 people holed up in temporary accomodation, while six are rough sleeping.
The report states that the numbers are placing a ‘considerable burden’ on local authorities, which have a duty to rehouse people who are ‘unintentionally homeless’.
Local homeless charity DENS provides accommodation and support services for people without a home to go to. Chief executive , Wendy Lewington, said: “We have seen an increase in demand for all our services – particularly the Foodbank and people seeking emergency accommodation.
“It is not surprising and due to a combination of a number of factors, including the well published issues with universal credit, leaving many individuals without benefits for well over six weeks, and private rental which is becoming unaffordable for many people in Dacorum.”
Not that they will have far to look for answers on that front, as local MP David Gauke is responsible for the universal credit rollout as Work and Pensions Secretary.
DENS added that on the plus side, there is an ‘increase in affordable housing’ locally, and that it’s working with the borough council to tackle the problem head on.
Elliott Brookes, from the council, added: “Reducing homelessness in the borough is a priority for us and something we have been working hard to achieve.”