The Rough Sleeping Snapshot survey found that 2440 people were estimated to be sleeping rough in England on a single night in autumn 2021. Most people sleeping rough in England were male, aged over 26 years old and from the UK. This is similar to previous years.
At least 38 of those seen to be sleeping rough were in Hertfordshire. Data was not available on the Department For Levelling Up, Housing and Communities website for five of the 10 District councils in Hertfordshire.
Dacorum Borough Council – 5 people found to be sleeping rough
East Herts Council – 5 people found to be sleeping rough
St Albans City and District Council – 8 people found to be sleeping rough
Stevenage Borough Council – 14 people found to be sleeping rough
Watford Borough Council – 6 people sleeping rough
Broxbourne Borough Council – Data not available
Hertsmere Borough Council – Data not available
North Hertfordshire District Council – Data not available
Three Rivers District Council – Data not available
Welwyn Hatfield Borough Council – Data not available
The Rough Sleeping Count took place on one evening in Autumn 2021. Local authorities used either use a count-based estimate of visible rough sleeping, an evidence-based estimate meeting with local agencies or an evidence-based estimate meeting including a spotlight count.
These figures do not include other forms of homelessness, including people in night-shelters, hostels, those in temporary accommodation such as B&Bs or people “sofa surfing”.
Duncan Lewis, CEO of Emmaus Hertfordshire, believes the stats released today do not paint the full picture of homelessness in the region.
“Just one person sleeping rough is one too many, so we are saddened to find that 38 are still sleeping rough here in Hertfordshire, and with data not available for half of the councils in Hertfordshire, we are sure this figure probably a bit higher.
“With the rise in the cost of living hitting the most vulnerable the hardest, we think this figure will rise further over the next 12 months.
“The Rough Sleep Count only considers those people who were seen sleeping rough on just one evening. We know from speaking to those men and women now living with us that many homeless people chose to find somewhere out of sight to sleep due to fears for their safety. Others choose not to sleep at night as this is when they feel most at risk so will have been missed in this count.
“The good news is that there is lots of fantastic support available here in Hertfordshire for people who are experiencing homelessness. There are many organisations and charities working together to provide help to individuals and families experiencing homelessness, as well as working to prevent homelessness before it happens.”
Mike is one of the formerly homeless people now supported by Emmaus Hertfordshire. Following a relationship breakdown, he found himself sleeping rough in Hertfordshire.
“I moved to Emmaus Hertfordshire in 2016. I went through a messy divorce and most of the money I got from the sale of our house went on paying bills, so I got stuck. I was homeless for about two years, going from place to place trying to find somewhere. I ended up in Welwyn Garden City where I met another guy who was homeless, so we stuck together.
“We had our favourite spots to sleep; park benches, and covered areas for when it got bad. It was very difficult. There are all sorts of weird people out there. I had abuse thrown at me, I had police move me on. It was a very difficult time.
“Emmaus Hertfordshire has helped me a lot. I have got my self-esteem back. I’ve settled down very well, I’ve learned a lot and I have some great friends around me. The staff here are really good; if I have any problems here they get straight on to it. I find them very helpful. I’d really recommend people come here.”
If you spot someone sleeping on the streets please contact Street Link by visiting www.streetlink.org.uk or call 0300 500 0914 to send an alert. If you think the person you are concerned about is in immediate danger or needs urgent care, please call 999.