My Ambition To End Rough Sleeping In Watford
I have had a longstanding passion for ending rough sleeping and helping ensure people can have the best chances in life.
I was pleased to support the Government's aspiration to end rough sleeping during this parliamentary term. Over the past year I have been fortunate to support the local homelessness charities and would like to put on record my sincere thanks and appreciation to New Hope and One YMCA for their outstanding work and commitment in reducing homelessness in Watford.
Hand on Heart are another local homelessness charity who have been helping people on the streets across Watford and beyond with sleeping bags, food and much more. I have been privileged to volunteer with them and other local charities.
Having worked with homelessness organisations closely, I have seen first hand how their kindness and people skills have helped considerably to get people off the streets and into accommodation which is clean and safe.
Since being elected, I a proud to have successfully lobbied for over £4 million pounds for Watford. This has included Government funding of £2.2 million pounds was provided to ONE YMCA which will be used to create 34 new rooms for rough sleepers, in addition to the rehabilitation space at Charter House Hostel.
Along with other funding an additional £1.65 million was given to Watford Council to support 'move on' style accommodation for people at risk of sleeping on the streets.
Dean Successfully Helps Find Accommodation For Rough Sleepers During Lockdown
Lockdown has had a profound impact on us all, but the impact on rough sleepers has been particularly challenging. I was pleased to make representations to the Government to fund rooms in the Travelodge to help people remain as safe as possible during the pandemic.
I proudly lobbied Ministers to ensure funding was available to help every rough sleeper in Watford have a safe place to stay and reached out to hotels locally to ensure we had safe facilities for them to stay in. I was fortunate to work alongside New Hope and was able to secure urgent funding to support rough sleepers. We saw immediate plans put in place to ensure that people didn't go hungry and that accommodation would be available.
I would like to put on record my sincere thanks and appreciation to everyone involved in this challenging operation including New Hope, One YMCA and Travelodge.
The difference made to individuals was life changing, and I look forward to continuing my strong partnership with the organisations going forward.
£4 million To End Homelessness in Watford
I spoke in the Commons to thank New Hope and One YMCA for their work in reducing homelessness in Watford.
I have continued to work closely with
both organisations and the council since the start of the pandemic to help tackle homelessness in the town and was delighted to read that there have been no reports of people sleeping rough in Watford in recent months.
Earlier this year it was announced that
ONE YMCA will receive government
funding of £2.2 million to help fund the
creation of 34 new rooms for rough sleeps, as well as rehabilitation space at their Charter House hostel.
In 2020 it was announced that Watford Borough Council will receive an additional £1.65 million from the Government for local schemes that provide secure ‘move on’ style accommodation for people at risk of sleeping on the streets.
I took the opportunity to thank everybody most sincerely that has been involved in getting people off our streets and into safe accommodation. Since being elected one of my priorities has been lobbying Government for additional funding to tackle homelessness and to help deliver brighter futures for those that have been sleeping rough.
If we are to deliver on the promise we made in our manifesto to end rough sleeping by the end of this Parliament, then the people who have been helped need access to long-term housing that gives them security so that they can focus on rebuilding their lives.
I am delighted that The Housing Secretary acknowledged the incredible work happening in Watford following the news that zero rough sleepers were recorded on the count, in what he described as an incredible step forward. Nevertheless, we must continue to work to ensure that this becomes the norm.”
Podcast with Matthew Heasman, CEO, New Hope
As part of his ongoing podcast series 'Watford Matters with Dean Russell', Dean was pleased to interview Matthew Heasman, the CEO of local homelessness charity New Hope.
Check out all the editions of the podcast here.
Listen to the full interview with Matthew Heasman below.
Dean Contributes To MP's Report With Essay On Homelessness, Cuckooing And Housing First
Dean Russell MP contributed to a series of essays in early 2020 as part of a 'Valuing Housing, Improving Lives’.
The essays were grouped into three main themes of supporting the vulnerable in society, promoting opportunity and prosperity for all and exploring the role in planning in creating successful and sustainable communities.
For helping those most in need our ideas include proposals for a ‘preservation of life’ Act to tackle rough sleeping (Nickie Aiken); support to victims of domestic abuse (Joy Morrissey) dealing with the blight of ‘Cuckooing’ (Dean Russell) and extending the ‘housing first’ system to a ‘prevention first’ approach that would allocate extra spending for frontline and preventative services (Robin Millar).
The report can be viewed here via the PDF viewer here or download via the button below.
Dean volunteers with 'Hand On Heart'
Dean was pleased to volunteer with 'Hand on Heart', a charity which seeks to benefit disadvantaged children and has more recently expanded to help people who are homeless across local areas including London.
During their recent activity, Dean joined volunteer families in putting together an incredible 850 essential packs which included items such as underwear, socks, deodorants, shower gel and hand sanitisers. The packs were so well received by the children and their families, and really help to support the day to day living.
Dean is proud that the charity decided to make their permanent base in Watford, and will continue to support disadvantaged families in addition to the sterling work they do to support the homeless.
Recent Homelessness Articles
Dean is actively involved in the community and is leading local and national campaigns and initiatives to make a difference for people across Watford and around the UK. Use the links below to find out more. If you don't see something important to you, let Dean know via a quick community survey here.