One YMCA is committed to changing the maximum number of lives possible within Herts, Beds and Bucks. Last year we worked with 131,000 people across a wide range of community services.


The diagram above shows the level of support given to residents as they transition through our Dynamic Pathway to Independence, learning life skills and gaining confidence so they can contribute to their local communities once again.


The diagram above shows how a person’s independence grows during their time with us, through recognised stages of their journey.


This diagram shows how, over time, the independence of the resident outstrips the need for our support provision, leading to much greater likelihood of positive outcomes. This proposal (click here to view) to redevelop the current hostel at North Herts Sanctuary will allow us to help even more of the local residents who require this kind of support and would currently need to find supported accommodation elsewhere in the county.

The following location diagram and photographs (click here to view) demonstrate the current North Herts Sanctuary building. The condition of the building is becoming increasingly poor and while the building has previously housed up to 20 people, it is no longer suitable for the five current residents.

View the artists impression here 


Frequently Asked Questions:

Where will residents go while the rebuild is happening? Because of the good throughput of residents (ie people moving on positively) it is likely that the five current residents will have moved to new private accommodation by the time that the demolition needs to begin. We will cease taking new residents once planning permission is granted and any residents have not moved out will be moved to spaces that we will make available in other nearby site.

How long will the rebuild take? About a year

What’s start and end dates? This will be determined by when the planning application is granted, but ideally would commence some point early in the new year, and end in March 2025.

How is the build being funded? The build costs are around £4.6m and funding is still being sought to cover the expected costs, however, local authorities have pledged c. £500k, with YMCA funding a similar amount and Helping Herts Homeless also making a contribution of £100k.

Who will use the new facility? Will the hostel only take homeless up to a certain age.  What happens to the older residents  currently being housed or local people becoming homeless in the interim? No one will be made homeless as a result of the new development and the age and situation of future residents will be determined by the prevailing local need and funding from the local authority. North Herts District Council will be the only source of referrals for the site and YMCA will work closely with the council to ensure a balanced cohort within the building. We envisage that for the initial three years, there will be a younger, rather than older cohort in the building as this is the focus of current funding.

How many homeless will it house? 23 people if the proposal is granted. If the building needs to be smaller, then it will house fewer people. We do not want to have to compromise too far in the amount of communal spaces for Support, training, counselling and staff spaces as this is where the majority of the positive work takes place to help people move forward on their journey towards independence.

Who will run the hostel on a day to day basis in the future? This will be the One YMCA Housing & Community team. In addition to this site, the team support around 700 people each night, with award-winning services that achieve excellent outcomes for local people. You can discover more about One YMCA at

Will the hostel be staffed 24/7? Yes – having the option of 24/7 support is a key factor of our service delivery.

What sort of facilities will the building have? Alongside the accommodation, the lower floor facilities can be seen in the plans and include counselling spaces, communal spaces, training kitchen, staff rooms, laundry, outside spaces and a rooftop garden/growing space on the lower roof.

What support will the residents receive whilst the work is taking place? The slides above detail the way we apply our support through the Dynamic Pathway to Independence, which essentially involves a person-centric and trauma-informed approach that is tailored to the needs of each person who enters our service. This will mean the nature and intensity of the support will vary, depending on each individual’s requirements. Our team are fully-trained supported housing specialists, with a variety of skillset and experiences. We will also be recruiting new specialists for this site once it opens.

Can I donate to the project? Yes – this would make a major difference as it allows us to improve the facilities within the building. More details can be found here.

How can I help? Can I volunteer?
Yes – this would be a wonderful addition to the service and is proven to make a big difference to service users. We have a robust procedure for welcoming, checking, training and supporting volunteers – in accordance with our Investors In Volunteers accreditation. You can find out more at oneymca/org/volunteer

What will be the situation with the roads while the work takes place? This will be covered in the Design and Access Statement that will form part of the planning application. There will be some unavoidable impact on the immediate roadways at certain parts of the build, however, we will conduct the maximum amount of work from within the site and will seek to minimise disruption to local residents and traffic. We will also explore modern methods of construction, which maximise the amount of construction that takes place offsite, with these sections/panels being connected together on site.

Is there contact details if we have further questions?
Yes – we welcome further engagement and feedback via [email protected]. There will also be the opportunity for feedback to the council during the impending planning application process, once the community consultation has concluded.

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