More than £300,000 has been awarded by the government to tackle rough sleeping in Watford.

Central government has given Watford Borough Council and its partners £320,000 in a further boost to work already undertaken to tackle homelessness on the streets.

The funding has been used to recruit a team of new outreach workers and navigators with specialist knowledge of substance abuse and mental health issues who will deliver new and in-depth initiatives to help rough sleepers leave the streets of the town and move forward with their lives in a positive way.

The new team will be based at homelessness prevention charity New Hope who already provide a range of valuable services to rough sleepers in Watford.

The new resources will significantly boost the current rough sleeper outreach programme from 6 hours up to 70 hours a week, providing specialist support flexibly on days, evenings and weekends.

Working hand in hand with the outreach team is a team of 5 navigators who will ensure that any rough sleeper who comes to them will get the specialist help they need.

The council had to demonstrate how it will build on existing initiatives in place which include the rough sleeper intervention team, and the winter shelter which provided a roof for rough sleepers during the cold winter months.

Elected Mayor of Watford Peter Taylor said: "No one in our town should have to sleep rough. These new outreach workers will make sure that anyone sleeping rough can access New Hope services and are able to transform their lives.

"At the last official rough sleeper count, there were 14 rough sleepers in the town, but the number does fluctuate throughout the year depending on various circumstances.

"‘These are the people our new support teams at New Hope will there to help. These new supports workers will be there to rebuild a rough sleeper’s life and  help them to stay off the streets for good. I am determined to do all I can to tackle homelessness in the town."

Stephen Devine, from New Hope, added: "The provision of the new outreach and navigator teams means we can reach some of the most marginalised and disenfranchised individuals in Watford and help them start to transform their lives."

The council is continuing to develop new initiatives for tackling rough sleeping in the town with its partners. It is bidding for government funding to set up housing schemes in the borough to free up hostel spaces in the town by providing affordable, move-on housing for former rough sleepers.

It is also developing several new strategies for housing, homelessness and rough sleeping which it will be consulting on later this year.