‘TAILOR-MADE’ plans for rough sleepers in Portsmouth could be introduced as an innovative way to tackle homelessness in the city.
Individuals would be provided with a personal housing plan to help them find accommodation as well as dealing with wider issues such as employment, mental or physical health, drugs, alcohol and debt.
Next week Portsmouth City Council’s cabinet member for housing, Councillor Darren Sanders, will decide whether to endorse the scheme that has been made possible by a £384,000 grant from central government.
The council has a further £1m bid in place to ensure the work could continue beyond spring next year.
Cllr Sanders said: ‘The council has been listening to partners across the city and the ideas in this strategy are the basis for a dialogue we want to have with them over the coming months.
‘The strategy has two main themes running through it.
‘The first is treating every person who happens to sleep rough as part of our community – an individual. The person would be at the heart of what we do, not the process.
‘The second is accepting that the council's role is to enable others to do the job, rather than pretending it has all the answers.
‘Dealing with such a complex matter means groups and individuals – including politicians – putting aside differences and working together on an equal footing to create a better life for rough sleepers.
‘It means building on the good work already done over the last few years, and working to understand this complex issue better.’
As part of the scheme existing housing for the homeless will be improved and buildings will be considered for use as accommodation in the future. It will also encourage continued action on anti-social behaviour.
The strategy will also explore creating safe houses where rough sleepers who are drug addicts can avoid illict substances.
Council workers will also encourage the public sector and businessses to buy or utilise buildings to house rough sleepers, and give them work.
The last official count of rough sleepers in Portsmouth identified 42 rough sleepers, up from 37 the year before.There are currently 45 beds in night shelters which are funded by the council, along with a homeless day service.
The decision will be made at a meeting next Tuesday.