New Hope continues to state that there are no known rough sleepers in town – and explains sightings of people appearing homeless in the area.

Since January 15, Watford Borough Council and Watford’s New Hope have repeated that there are no known rough sleepers on the streets of Watford.

There has been active work to accommodate and support rough sleepers, particularly since the wake of the pandemic.

On March 24 New Hope CEO, Matthew Heasman, said: “The numbers of rough sleepers in Watford remains at zero. The lives of many of the most vulnerable members of society are being gently transformed. We know it will be very challenging ahead, but for now, there is a sense of new hope and optimistic for many.”

But despite the repeated positive news, some Watford Observer readers have questioned sightings of people appearing homeless in certain parts around town.

New Hope remains adamant that the number of verified rough sleepers remains zero.

According to a spokesperson from the Watford-based homeless charity, while rough sleepers have been accommodated, there are still beggars – and the charity believes these beggars are not homeless.

A spokesperson said: “The number of verified rough sleepers is currently zero following the success of last year’s Everyone In scheme and the provision of additional accommodation in the town.

“However, there are sometimes still people begging in Watford. This is because not everyone who begs is street homeless.

“This is why we encourage members of the public not to give money to people they see begging.”

According to Watford’s homelessness and rough sleeping strategy for 2020 to 2025, levels of rough sleeping has varied over time.

And data from the Ministry of Housing, Communities and Local Government also indicates how the homelessness crisis in Watford is decreasing.

Between July and September 2018, the last time these figures were published, there were 66 households that identified as homeless and were in need of help.

According to the data, 22 of these households had members that were employed but were still homeless.

On January 6 this year, Mr Heasman announced that rough sleeping in Watford had been down by 95 per cent over the past ten months.

It was only a week later that New Hope began to celebrate the successful housing of rough sleepers.

If anyone is concerned about someone possibly facing homelessness, people are encouraged to contact New Hope’s 24/7 phone number, 0300 012 0168.