Dacorum residents sleep rough to highlight homelessness

Residents out in the cold for the DENS sleep out
Residents out in the cold for the DENS sleep out

Nearly 80 people found out first hand how tough it is to be homeless – by spending the evening in the cold.

The volunteers grabbed their sleeping bags and pillows to take to the grounds of Hemel Hempstead School for the annual DENS Sleep Out.

Residents out in the cold for the DENS sleep out

Residents out in the cold for the DENS sleep out

Ranging in ages from 10 to 75, the volunteers have raised £9,000 for the charity by sleeping rough for the evening.

This was the first Sleep Out that was organised independently by DENS, which has a volunteer team of up to 250 helping those who face the possibility of homelessness or poverty.

DENS chief executive Wendy Lewington said: “Many of the participants came from local church youth groups and schools as well as our corporate supporters.

“They were enthusiastic to see what it was like to be a rough sleeper, though most of them were also very happy to know they had homes and beds to go to on Saturday morning.”

Residents out in the cold for the DENS sleep out

Residents out in the cold for the DENS sleep out

The real homeless residents of Dacorum don’t have a warm bed to fall back on though, and last month Dacorum was named as a ‘homeless hotspot’ by a new report from the charity Shelter.

Last year DENS managed to help more than 4,300 people facing hunger or homelessness, and the Sleep Out is designed to raise awareness of as much as fundraise to improve the charitable services that are offered.

Mrs Lewington added: “We are really grateful to the support shown by all of the participants.

“The money they have raised is critical to our ability to maintain and develop the services we offer to homeless and disadvantaged people in our

community.”