History

DENS started as a temporary night shelter in 1998. A group of seven local churches recognised the need for 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 shelter for 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 homelessness.

In 2015, 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 advice on their housing situation.

In 2010, the DENS Dacorum Foodbank was established, in partnership with the Trussell Trust. This facility provides emergency food to local people in short term financial crisis. In 2011, DENS merged with another local charity, Dacorum Rent Aid. This meant DENS could offer a more comprehensive solution to homelessness, providing longer term accommodation to help move toward independent living.

In 2011, DENS merged with another local charity, Dacorum Rent Aid, to create DENS Rent Aid, now named Move On. This service provides support in private rented accommodation for a 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 temporary accommodation unit for single homeless people.

In 2016, DENS was awarded 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 meet.

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.

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