A new homelessness team in Portsmouth will aim to 'get people off the streets' and into homes

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A CITY charity is hopeful a new dedicated homelessness team will help 'get people off the streets' and into long-term homes.

Portsmouth council has formed a group of four workers who will provide support to rough sleepers in the city after receiving government funding of £275,000. 

A new team will aim to help individual rough sleepers to find long-term homes. Credit: Victoria Jones/PA Wire

A new team will aim to help individual rough sleepers to find long-term homes. Credit: Victoria Jones/PA Wire

Team members, known as navigators, will be 'on-call' for individuals and arrange personal plans to help them find homes. They will also assist them to get medical care.

The project will be delivered in part by homelessness charity, the Society of St James.

Trevor Pickup, chief executive of the society, said: 'The Society of St James is delighted to be a part of this project, it will allow us to focus on individuals with independent needs and work around them.

'We do think it will help get people off the streets. We are hoping it will allow us to identify individual people's particular needs and then find them accommodation that's going to be suitable for them.

He added: 'Living on the streets is grim, there's the risk of being assaulted and the problem of staying warm. People just want to get through the next 24 hours and then the 24 hours after that. This could help them look more to the long term.'

The project will begin by focusing on long-term users of the council's two night shelters and aim to help up to 50 people a year.

Housing boss at Portsmouth City Council, Councillor Darren Sanders, said: 'It's all about having a named person they can develop a relationship with. Their navigator will be there to help them through their ups and downs, and will be on call if they hit a rough patch.'

It comes after a grant of nearly £260,000 was given to Portsmouth council to fund the Towards Better Health initiative to help improve the physical and mental health of rough sleepers and those at risk of rough sleeping.

The council currently funds two night shelters for homeless people, with a total of 49 beds. They are open year-round, with more beds made available in severe weather.

To use the new navigator service, people need to be referred from the day service or one of the night shelters.