Huge increase in rough sleepers in Portsmouth area
THE number of rough sleepers have increased in the Portsmouth area, new figures show.
Data from the Ministry of Housing, Communities and Local Government found people living on the streets has gone up in Portsmouth, Gosport and Havant.
Only Fareham saw a decrease going from 18 rough sleepers in 2016 compared to 10 in November last year.
Portsmouth had the highest number in the area at 42, an increase of 14 per cent compared to 2016.
Nearly three quarters of rough sleepers in the city were men and UK nationals.
Gosport had the biggest percentage increase in the area of 50 percent going from six in 2016 to nine last year.
In Havant, it went up from eight to 10.
The data was collected by local authorities between October 1 and November 30, 2017, and the counts and estimates are single-night snapshots.
Nationally, local authorities estimated there were around 4,751 rough sleepers.
Councillor Donna Jones, leader of Portsmouth City Council, said: ‘There are new complex reasons as to why people are sleeping rough.
‘Some of it is mental health issues and it is about making sure there’s adequate support in place to help people.
‘Following the national trend there is a lack of money in community mental health and that means people are unable to manage tenancy, paying their bills and things like that.’
Cllr Jones said she is not surprised by the Portsmouth figure but said there is accommodation for rough sleepers to use overnight including the winter shelter, opened in December, and a hostel.
‘Our winter shelter has 45 beds and only about 30 to 35 of those are used so there is capacity there for more people,’ she said.