St Albans Argos becomes temporary tent town for homeless

Homeless people have set up tents outside Argos in St Albans city centre. Picture: Laura Bill

Homeless people have set up tents outside Argos in St Albans city centre. Picture: Laura Bill - Credit: Archant

An impromptu camp of homeless people has appeared outside the city’s Argos store.

The row of adjoined tents and sleeping bags is under the awning of the shop in Spencer Street, St Albans, which is currently closed.

They add to the many other tents which have appeared across the city in recent months, including another in Lamb Alley, near Rymans.

It is not known whether these people are sleeping rough out of choice, or have actually been made homeless.

Strategic housing manager for St Albans district council David Reavill said: “Our outreach workers are aware of the tents and have been paying regular visits to identify the people who may have been sleeping there and help them.

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“We work throughout the year with a number of partners, including Hightown Housing Association and the Open Door homeless shelter, to provide support for rough sleepers and help them move onto secure accommodation.

“This effort has been intensified during the COVID-19 pandemic and every year we have additional support available during the winter months.

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“We can provide accommodation throughout the winter to all rough sleepers in the district who want it and we make them aware of this.

“Anyone who comes across a rough sleeper and is concerned about their welfare is asked to alert us by giving details to StreetLink, an organisation that connects people living rough to local services.

“They can be contacted through their website, or by phoning 0300 500 0914.”

A spokesperson for Argos said: “Our St Albans store is now closed to customers and we undertake regular checks of the property to ensure it is safe and secure.”

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