St Albans homelessness charity launches project and video for World Homeless Day

PUBLISHED: 17:00 10 October 2019

Open Door service user Trevor appears in the film launched by Open Door St Albans for World Homeless Day. Picture: Hightown Housing Association

Open Door service user Trevor appears in the film launched by Open Door St Albans for World Homeless Day. Picture: Hightown Housing Association

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A St Albans-based homelessness charity is raising awareness of the support available to rough sleepers for World Homeless Day.

Open Door St Albans is launching a project and a video in support of World Homeless Day. Picture: Hightown Housing AssociationOpen Door St Albans is launching a project and a video in support of World Homeless Day. Picture: Hightown Housing Association

The Open Door hostel on Bricket Road has launched a film to mark World Homeless Day today, and to showcase the work they do helping homeless people in the district.

Open Door, which is run by Hightown Housing Association, offers laundry facilities, support with CV writing and job applications, help with housing enquiries, mental health counselling and more.

The film urges St Albans residents who are worried about rough sleepers to consider donating to the service or volunteering their time.

Cllr Jacqui Taylor, portfolio holder for housing, inclusion and protection for St Albans district council, said: "The people of St Albans have always been extremely generous in donating money to homeless charities as well as doing voluntary work to help them out.

Open Door St Albans is launching a project and a video in support of World Homeless Day. Picture: Hightown Housing AssociationOpen Door St Albans is launching a project and a video in support of World Homeless Day. Picture: Hightown Housing Association

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"However, the needs of rough sleepers can often be extremely complex, with a multitude of factors coming into play, which is why the holistic, tailored support offered by Open Door is so crucial.

"The film conveys the fantastic work that goes on there and we hope it encourages members of the public to think about how they can support homeless people in the district, particularly as we enter into the colder winter months."

Both St Albans district council and Hightown Housing Association are also marking World Homeless Day with the launch of a new 'Housing First' project, which is being run in conjunction with Dacorum Borough Council.

Open Door scheme manager Carla Watson. Picture: Hightown Housing AssociationOpen Door scheme manager Carla Watson. Picture: Hightown Housing Association

The project will offer permanent, affordable housing through St Albans district council and the housing association, as well as intensive support to help rough sleepers rebuild their lives. Two newly-appointed Housing First coordinators, based at the Open Door hostel, will work with participants to help access services.

Cllr Taylor added: "Unlike other homelessness intervention models, Housing First places no pre-conditions on people, only a willingness to maintain their tenancy.

"The approach has proved to be very successful in other parts of the UK in helping people break the cycle of instability that can keep them on the streets."

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