Watford Borough Council has now revealed how it will spend its £581,817 fund from the government to help support rough sleepers.

The council was issued the funding from the overall £203million being put to councils across England to help prevent rough sleeping.

Housing Secretary Robert Jenrick said the Rough Sleeping Initiative fund will be used by councils, charities and other local groups to fund up to 14,500 bed spaces and 2,700 support staff across England.

When asked where the money will specifically go towards, a spokesperson from Watford Borough Council has revealed it will help fund a series of initiatives.

This includes the continued operation of bed spaces on the fourth and fifth floors of One YMCA’s Charter House – which is also currently undergoing an expansion of 34 new rooms.

It will also fund an outreach service of five workers and 25 emergency accommodation bed spaces for one night of sleep, and the continuation of the council’s rough sleeper co-ordinator post.

Mayor of Watford Peter Taylor said: “This is great news for vulnerable people in Watford. No one should have to sleep rough. We are doing all we can to tackle homelessness in Watford.

"This funding will help One YMCA, New Hope and other incredible organisations in Watford provide invaluable and life changing support to people experiencing homelessness.

"We are not just providing shelter for those on the street but also making sure we can help them to transform their lives and stay off the streets for good. The extra funding will really help us to make a difference to people affected by homelessness and rough sleeping in our town.”

When announcing the funds, Mr Jenrick said: “At the beginning of the pandemic we took swift and decisive action to bring rough sleepers in from the streets and settled them into longer-term accommodation in record numbers. That work continues, the results are clear and are a huge credit to all involved.

“Ending rough sleeping is a personal mission for the Prime Minister and me – and we have made huge progress since he came into No.10, reducing rough sleeping by 43 per cent.

“To build on this progress, we are making the biggest ever investment under the Rough Sleeping Initiative to provide vital services to those who need it most, as part of our drive to end rough sleeping for good.”

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

For much of the year, Watford Borough Council and Watford’s New Hope have repeatedly said that there were no known rough sleepers in the streets of Watford.

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.”

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.”

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