Watford’s MP feels there is “an opportunity to really change lives” as he seeks to continue helping the homeless during the coronavirus pandemic.

Dean Russell teamed up with New Hope, a charity for the homeless and disadvantaged in the Watford area, Watford Borough Council and One YMCA last month to help find accommodation for those without a roof over their heads during the Covid-19 crisis.

Mr Russell claims 80 rough sleepers were found somewhere to stay, but he is now keen to do more to ensure those affected continue to transform their lives.

He said: “It must be so tough for those that do not have somewhere secure to sleep. We were all told repeatedly to stay home in order to save lives, but for those sleeping on the street they do not have a home where they can isolate from this virus. I am so grateful to both Travelodge and One YMCA for providing a place to stay.

“It is great that 80 rough sleepers now have somewhere to stay, but the focus must now shift to how we can build on this. We have an opportunity to really change lives here, whether that be helping somebody to secure employment or supporting them in their recovery from the physical and mental traumas of rough sleeping.

“New Hope are amazing, I know that it easy to say but I truly mean it. You can see how passionately the staff care and I am so grateful that they are in Watford.”

New Hope chief executive Matthew Heasman said: “We are grateful for the support of Dean Russell and the whole community in Watford who have all rallied around to support some of the most vulnerable in the community. It's vital that people are given the opportunity and help needed to stay in safe and secure accommodation so that they do not have to return to the rough sleeping.”

You can support New Hope’s crisis appeal by visiting newhope.org.uk/appeal

For those able to leave home, the following items can be donated to the Haven Support Centre, Whippendell Road, from 11am until 5pm seven days a week: pot noodles and porridge pots; fresh fruit and veg (not apples); baby wipes; cheese and butter; tuna; cold meats; large cereal boxes; new boxer shorts and ladies underwear (small sizes).