New service at Queen Alexandra Hospital to help rough sleepers in Portsmouth find a home after treatment
A NEW service will help rough sleepers who visit the city’s hospital to have a home to go to after their treatment is over.
A specialist support worker from homeless charity Two Saints will be on duty at Queen Alexandra Hospital in Cosham seven days a week between 10am and 6pm to look for solutions to their housing problems, put them in touch with services and create a personalised plan for the future.
In the financial year 2018/19, 222 patients were admitted into the hospital whose address was recorded as ‘no fixed abode’.
Support will also be offered to homeless patients who might want to discharge themselves from hospital, despite having nowhere to stay. Patients at risk of homelessness will also be offered help.
Portsmouth City Council's cabinet member for housing, Councillor Darren Sanders, said: ‘This is yet another example of how the council, working with partners, is helping people who happen to sleep rough. It builds on our homeless day service, our night shelters, our purchase of homes for homeless people to live in, and our ground-breaking work to help rough sleepers into settled homes using one-to-one support.
‘We know that this type of comprehensive support works – for example, with people leaving prison. I look forward to this scheme stopping people who sleep rough ending up back on the street when they're discharged this winter.’
The funding is for three months, but organisers of the project are exploring ways it could be extended.
Health bosses are hoping it will provide information on how to improve care for patients experiencing homelessness, and reduce re-admission rates.
Mark Cubbon, chief executive at Portsmouth Hospitals NHS Trust, added: ‘As the largest employer in Portsmouth, we are committed to continuing to work in partnership with Portsmouth City Council and Two Saints to help those most in need, and we are incredibly proud to be supporting this new service here at QA.’
The project is led by Portsmouth City Council, working with other local councils and with other NHS organisations in the Hampshire and the Isle of Wight sustainability and transformation partnership. It follows a successful bid by the city council for £25,000 of government funding, designed to help rough sleepers during the cold weather.