Additional temporary housing for rough sleepers will be introduced in a £4m investment to end homelessness.

Three floors of One YMCA’s Charter House hostel will be redeveloped to create 34 new rooms for rough sleepers, alongside engagement and activity space to help rough sleepers rehabilitate with independence.

One YMCA secured a £2.2million investment from the Government to do so, and the charity will also commit £1.8 million of its own funds towards the landmark to enhance it even further.

The charity says the combined investment in Watford will bring an estimated half a billion pounds of social value and savings to the local public purse each year, by reducing the significant costs of homelessness to the town.

One YMCA will introduce more housing for rough sleepers

One YMCA will introduce more housing for rough sleepers

This comes after Watford Borough Council celebrated the achievement in January where no known rough sleepers were recorded in Watford’s street, something that had not happened in the town “for a generation”.

As soon as the pandemic hit, One YMCA converted some of its existing spaces into intensive support units to house rough sleepers.

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Guy Foxell, CEO at One YMCA explains: “We know that there are still many vulnerable people in unsuitable accommodation in Watford, without the crucial support they need to break the cycle of homelessness.

“We therefore want to do even more to equip homeless people with the tools to belong, contribute and thrive within our community.

“The best way to do this is to create more safe places for people to stay and a new programme of long-term support so they can move safely along a ‘Pathway to Independence’ that we, the Council and other partners like New Hope and WCHT are working so hard to establish.”

One YMCA will introduce more housing for rough sleepers

One YMCA will introduce more housing for rough sleepers

Construction has begun and the charity aims to move people into the new units from as early as July 2021.

But the development has meant that the public community gym will not reopen post-lockdown.

The senior leadership team says they are actively searching for a new location to continue offering its gym services.

Simon Foden, head of enterprise at One YMCA said: “We want to find an aspirational space for our new gym concept, a place that will help us inspire and motivate everyone who works out and exercises with us, to be on top of their own game in terms of being fit, well and healthy.

“The gym has been an integral and much-loved part of the community for so long and we know how much it means to our members.”