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Portsmouth to receive another £4 million to fight homelessness

Portsmouth has received another £4m to help rough sleepers and prevent homelessness in the city.

This takes the amount of money the Government has allocated Portsmouth’s homelessness team to £9.9m since April 2020.

This investment contains £1.6m over the next two years as a drug and alcohol treatment grant, and a further £2.3m over the next three years. 

The money will fund, among other things, more staff to support rough sleepers into permanent accommodation, help those homeless people leaving hospital or prison or have survived domestic abuse, as well as preventing homelessness by working to make sure people at risk of eviction stay in their homes.  

The money is backdated to April and is on top of the annual existing homelessness prevention grant of £1.4m.

A Vote of Confidence for Portsmouth Homelessness Team

Cabinet Member for Housing and Preventing Homelessness, Cllr Darren Sanders, said: “The cost of living crisis means more people may end up on the streets. That is why the council, working with others across the city, has asked for an ambitious package to tackle the causes of homelessness, as well as those affected by it. We are delighted that, yet again, Government has shown its confidence in what we are doing.

“I am excited about some of the posts which will be funded to foster our work across local agencies, particularly in health and justice. Some of the posts will be based within the hospital and probation services, to make sure that anyone they encounter who is rough sleeping or likely to become homeless gets the initial housing support they need from the council straight away and doesn’t become lost in the system.”

There is a strong network across the city already tackling issues of homelessness.

Chair of the Portsmouth City Rough Sleeping and Homelessness Partnership Group, Sally McNally, said: “Following Portsmouth’s success in receiving funding to prevent homelessness and rough sleeping means that the strategies already being undertaken can be further developed.

“Portsmouth has shown how by working together, across all statutory, voluntary and private agencies, services to support these vulnerable individuals can be done in a way that meets individual needs. The awarding of this funding highlights and recognises the innovative approaches taken by the city, its partners and staff to date in focusing on preventing homelessness and rough sleeping.”

Final Thought

The situation in Portsmouth is not dissimilar to many other localities across the UK, where the cost-of-living crisis coupled with rent hikes will push many people onto the streets.

The preventative approach being taken by the Council is an important point. It is much more effective, and much cheaper to prevent people from becoming homeless than it is to get them out of a cycle of homelessness. This kind of targeted support will be essential for those who, faced with the choice of eating or heating, will also be at risk of eviction. These kinds of measures will be life savers for many.

To put it in rudimentary, if uncontroversial terms, this cost-of-living crisis is  expensive business. We can expect more such measures from different councils across the UK in the coming winter months, and until the crisis has begun to abate.

Homelessness is an issue that affects communities very differently, with LGBT+ people among the most at risk. Read here about the findings of Curia’s inquiry session on LGBT+ homelessness.

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