A new hub to provide support to rough sleepers and those at risk of homelessness will open its doors on Friday 1 October 2021, at a new location on Elm Grove.
In a bid to support people to change their lives and move on to settled accommodation, the hub will provide access to vital medical services, mental health workers and substance misuse professionals alongside practical support like hot food, shower facilities and a ‘care of’ address so people can receive post more easily.
The Portsmouth Rough Sleeping Hub is based in one of the three former student accommodation blocks purchased by the council in March 2021. The rough sleeping pathway and hub are funded using an investment of £4.6m, grant funding from the Ministry of Housing Communities and Local Government (now Department for Levelling Up, Housing and Communities).
Councillor Darren Sanders, Cabinet Member for Housing and Preventing Homelessness said: “This is an exciting next step in Portsmouth’s plan to end rough sleeping for good.
“Time and again, people sleeping rough have told us that what they really need is support, not just a place to live. This new hub will provide life-changing help for those that want it, helping them to take the vital next steps into more permanent accommodation.”
Since the new pathway was introduced in September 2020, almost 250 people have accessed support. Of those, 100 have moved on to more settled accommodation in the private sector, or into supported housing where more specific support is offered around their individual need.
Everyone within the pathway is allocated a key worker, and staff are trained to build up trust with people and work with them to agree on what help will make the biggest difference.
Recognising there are often complex issues at play that have led to people sleeping rough, the support offered will differ for each person that comes through the door. It could mean helping someone to address substance misuse problems, get support with complex conditions like PTSD, or get specialist help to deal with past trauma and bereavement.
Trevor Pickup, Chief Executive of the Society of St James said: “We are delighted to be managing this service, building on the services we have been providing in Portsmouth for a number of years. SSJ is committed to working in a flexible way with people from a range of backgrounds to support them to sustain their accommodation and to regain their place in the community, and we look forward to working with the council to have a real impact in the city.”
The Portsmouth Rough Sleeping Hub is located at Kingsway House, 130 Elm Grove, Portsmouth. It is open seven days a week, 8 am-4 pm. People need to book an appointment in person, by emailing firstname.lastname@example.org or by calling 023 9288 2689. Breakfast is available from 8 am to 11 am daily.
The council has outreach services that find rough sleepers and offer them support. If residents are concerned about someone they think is sleeping rough, they should go to www.streetlink.org.uk and log the details so local agencies can try to connect the person with help available.