Portsmouth council renews efforts to tackle homelessness and rough sleeping with £4.6m investment

EFFORTS to tackle homelessness across the city are to be shaken up with a new £4.6m contract from Portsmouth City Council.

Friday, 2nd July 2021, 4:55 am
Updated Friday, 2nd July 2021, 9:04 am
One in seven adults in England have become more worried about becoming homeless due to the pandemic, according to homelessness charity Shelter. Picutre: Christopher Furlong/Getty Images

The new contract will will see The Society of St James take on the the homeless day service on Milton Road, the street homeless outreach service, and the former night bed service for rough sleepers.

The services are currently provided by both the society and Fareham-based homeless accommodation service Two Saints.

The renewed efforts to tackle homelessness include a rough sleeping hub on Elm Grove, an outreach team to engage with rough sleepers, and increased support to find and remain in accommodation.

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Cllr Darren Sanders celebrating earlier this year as the council acquired three new properties to house homeless people.

In March, the council purchased three former student blocks in Elm Grove and St Michael’s Road to accommodate former rough sleepers looking to move on to permanent housing, following a multi-million pound grant from the government.

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Now The Society of St James will take on the homeless services contract from October until March 2024.

Trevor Pickup, chief executive at The Society of St James said: ‘We are delighted to have been awarded this contract to deliver the new Rough Sleeper Support Service in Portsmouth on behalf and in partnership with Portsmouth City Council.

‘The 'Everyone In' initiative clearly demonstrated the need for innovation within services for rough sleepers, and Portsmouth City Council has responded by commissioning this exciting, innovative and integrated service to sit within the wider homelessness pathway. We can't wait to get started.’

Portsmouth has seen rough sleeping reduced by 50 per cent – to just a dozen individuals – a year on from the first national lockdown.

Councillor Darren Sanders, cabinet member for housing and preventing homelessness said the new contract for homeless services was ‘excellent news’.

He said: ‘The Society of St James has ample experience of working with rough sleepers with complex needs in the city.

‘I look forward to working with them as part of our commitment to ensuring rough sleepers receive the support they need to change their lives and move in to settled accommodation.

‘The Society of St James and Two Saints will continue to manage the service until October and I would like to thank them for the work they have done over the past 3 years, especially during the coronavirus pandemic when times have been exceptionally difficult.’

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