According to St Albans City and District Council, there are seven rough sleepers on the city's streets.

Every year the local authority carries out a count on the number of rough sleepers on one particular night.

In November, this count took place, and seven were discovered.

According to data from the government's department for levelling up, housing and communities, the amount of rough sleepers in England has risen for the first time since 2017.


With figures rising across the country, The Herts Advertiser asked St Albans City and District Council and St Albans-based charities about what is being done to help, and how residents can get involved.

Herts Advertiser: St Albans City and District Council works with a range of charities.St Albans City and District Council works with a range of charities.

Chris Traill, the council's strategic director for community and place delivery, said: "Addressing homelessness, rough sleeping and sustainable affordable housing is vital to the wellbeing of our communities, and is therefore reflected in our strategic priorities and our commitment of significant council resources.

“As well as our own investment, we work closely with a number of partners to give support to rough sleepers and help them transform their lives.

"These include Hightown Housing Association, Open Door, Emmaus and Centre 33.

“Together, we provide rough sleepers with help, advice and a wide range of services.

“We ask residents who want to contribute to this effort to volunteer to work for one of the charities involved or to make a donation to them.

“This is in preference to giving money directly to people on the street or handing over clothes or bedding which may not actually be required.

“We employ a specialist homelessness advisor who can help rough sleepers and we fund outreach workers employed by Hightown to make contact with rough sleepers in the district and make them aware of the available support."

Duncan Lewis, chief executive of Emmaus Hertfordshire, added: "Even one rough sleeper is one too many, so these figures are extremely worrying and highlight that this problem cannot be ignored.

"We strongly believe that these figures are also just the tip of the iceberg. Homelessness is all around us and so much of it isn’t visible.

“The parameters for recording rough sleeping figures do not include people in hostels or shelters, those sofa surfing or in temporary accommodation."

During the winter, a 'Winter Beds' scheme was organised by St Albans City and District Council, Open Door, Hightown Housing Association and Emmaus Hertfordshire.

The service was accessed by 13 individuals between December and January.

Herts Advertiser: Open Door's location in Bricket Road, St Albans.Open Door's location in Bricket Road, St Albans. (Image: Google Maps)

Open Door's Winter Beds manager, Lucy Gaygusuz, commented: "It can at times be difficult to persuade some individuals to use night shelter accommodation or the Winter Beds Project.

"There are a range of reasons why some prefer to sleep rough, and ultimately individuals with capacity may make choices that others find hard to understand.

"At the same time, rough sleeping poses a significant risk to an individual's physical and mental health.

"People may find it harder to make decisions if they are exhausted, hungry, afraid, in pain or intoxicated.

"So, there is a balance between respecting the choices and autonomy of the individual and continuing to make offers of support and checking on that person’s welfare.

"This is exactly why the outreach team is so important.

"The outreach team persevere, there have been situations where someone rough sleeping refuses a bed for years, until one day they are ready to accept support.

"Change is always possible”.


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Lastly, Hightown Housing Association's director of care and supported housing, Amy Laurie, said: "Hightown's Outreach Worker offers a vital service by engaging with people who are sleeping rough in St Albans and supporting them to access accommodation and support services.

"We work closely with the council, charities and health services to enable rough sleepers to access the support they need."

To get involved, visit or the charities' individual websites.

To report rough sleepers visit or email