Liberal Democrat leader, Sir Vince Cable MP came to town to celebrate Watford Borough Council’s (WBC) new funding for helping rough sleepers.
WBC won new funding from the Ministry of Housing, Communities and Local Government (MHCLG) to extend and expand frontline support for rough sleepers.
Watford is one of just 42 councils in the UK to win the funding.
The money will fund a navigator team made up of five staff members based at local homelessness charities, New Hope and GROW.
Specialists from Herts Young Homeless, Change Grow Live and Citizens Advice will work directly with individuals currently experiencing homelessness, providing personalised support plans to help them move away from the streets permanently.
Sir Cable MP was joined by the Elected Mayor of Watford Peter Taylor and WBC’s Parliamentary candidate, councillor Ian Stotesbury in his visit to Watford charity, New Hope.
In an exclusive interview with MyWatfordNews, Sir Cable MP said of Watford and the project: “It’s a borough with a very good Lib Dem council and mayor, and this project is inspirational, you’ve got a very generous community and a very effective council and lots of volunteers.
“It’s a role model about how you deal with homelessness, which is a national problem.”
The former secretary of state for business, innovation and skills added: “The first Christmas broadcast I did after becoming the leader was focussed on rough sleeping and I’ve been around the main hostels and sites in central London so this is something that matters to me personally.”
“It’s moving to see real things being done and action being taken to help these people.”
Elected Mayor of Watford Peter Taylor said: “This is fantastic news for Watford. I am determined to make sure that no one in our town has to sleep rough.
“There’s two thing I’d really encourage the public to do: one; if you see someone you think is sleeping rough, report it either directly to New Hope or report it on a Streetlink app or website; the other one is to give financial support to one of the charities.
“We encourage people to do that rather than give directly to rough sleepers as the money here is very well spent.”
Cllr Stotesbury added: “We need to tackle the issue of housing and Watford is doing what it can within the constraints that we have. We need to see more leadership from the government for building property. My message to readers is to not only make sure you’re volunteering with local charities, but also write your local MPs and ask them about these topics and why more isn’t being done.
If you do see someone sleeping rough, please call New Hope’s 24/7 helpline 0300 012 0168 or use the Streetlink app on your mobile phone.