DENS Day Centre is often the first point of contact for people who are homeless or at risk of homelessness. Its main objectives are to provide basic support such as food, clothing and shower facilities, as well to work with homeless people to identify their needs and refer them to further DENS services or give assistance with issues such as eviction or benefits claims.
With an increasing number of people attending, the Day Centre is equipped to deal with a broad spectrum of issues. Whether an individual is already experiencing homelessness, or are in danger of becoming excluded from society due to job loss or financial difficulty, drug or alcohol issues, or lack of a support network, we aim to provide one to one help for anyone who is in need.
Staffed by three full time workers, along with a team of volunteers, the Day Centre provides these basic services:
Food and Drink – Hot meals are provided at an open drop-in service. The Day Centre is also an outlet for the Foodbank, which provides donations for people without access to food.
Cleaning Facilities – Visitors have access to showers as well as laundry facilities.
Clothing – We provide clothes, toiletries and sleeping bags to those who have no accommodation and are unable to access our Night Shelter.
Computer Access – A PC suite allows visitors to access the internet, and get help with job searching or looking for accommodation.
Help & Advice – We offer support and advice for issues such as eviction, job loss or benefits claims. Help is provided with filling in forms or writing emails, and visitors are advised on ways to resolve their problems.
The Elms Referral – For homeless people, the Day Centre is the a key point of referral for the The Elms, where temporary accommodation is provided, as well as further support and access to long term living solutions.
Since 2006, the Day Centre has grown to become one of DENS’ most used services, providing help to almost 5,000 visitors a year. Everyone who attends is fully assessed for their current situation, and exactly what their support needs are. Going forward, this will form the basis for an individual support plan for every visitor who moves on to other services such as The Elms. By opening its doors to a wide range of vulnerable people, and dedicating certain times to specific homeless groups, such as rough sleepers, the Day Centre provides an individual and personalised level of support to everyone in need of help.
The Day Centre is open Monday – Thursday from 11:30am - 2pm, and offers pre-booked appointment sessions on Fridays from 9am - 4:30pm. It is situated at the entrance to Gadebridge Park on Queensway, Hemel Hempstead.
Photo credit: Francesca Kirkland