In 1998, seven local churches recognised the need for a shelter for homeless people during the harsh winter months. Each night, one church would open its doors, putting down temporary beds and cooking a hot meal for anyone who needed a safe place to spend the night.
In 2003, DENS was formally established as a charity with a permanent Night Shelter. Protection and professional support could be found under one roof, meaning DENS could work more closely with residents to help address the root causes of their homelessness.
In 2006, DENS Day Centre opened at Bury Lodge. This provides a place where anyone is welcome to drop in for a shower, a hot meal, clean clothes and get expert advice on their housing situation.
In 2011, the DENS Dacorum Foodbank was established, in partnership with the Trussell Trust. This service provides emergency food provisions to local people in short-term financial crisis.
In 2011, DENS merged with another local charity, Dacorum Rent Aid, to create DENS Rent Aid, now named Move On. This service provides support for clients in private rented accommodation on their move towards independent living.
In 2015, DENS took over the management of The Elms, in partnership with Dacorum Borough Council. The Elms is a purpose-built, 44-bed temporary accommodation unit for single homeless people.
In 2016, DENS received the Queens Award for Voluntary Services.
In 2017, DENS Open Space launched. This community based project offers personal development and training, friendly advice and a place to socialise and get creative.
In 2020, the first of the DENS Social Enterprises, the Bike Project, was officially launched. The workshop provides a relaxed atmosphere for people to build confidence and learn new skills. This was soon followed by the launch of the Coffee Project, giving service users valuable barista experience to help them take a step towards moving back into employment.