July 20, 2024

Below 2020 Media

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Homelessness in our country

3 min read

Many of us are fortunate enough to have somewhere to live be it with family or you have your own place. 

However there are over 4000 people living on the streets in the UK and Portsmouth is not the only city, town or village in this country who have their fair share of homeless people. 

The question is what help is out there to get our homeless in some kind of housing, admittedly some of the homeless do not wish to be housed or helped due to mental health issues which emphasises another problem in our country. 

In a previous interview with Donna Jones leader of Portsmouth City Council, it was explained to LMS that if anyone living on the streets in Portsmouth who can prove they originally come from Portsmouth then the council have a legal duty of care to help them. 

It was also said that funding is supplied by central government to cities across the country to assist the homeless, however if anyone who is living on the streets in Portsmouth who do not come from the city, the council have the right to tell that person to go back to their own city where help will be provided. 

But if anyone who is legally from Portsmouth then there are many ways they can be helped to be placed into temporary accommodation and then eventually rehoused in some way. 

We received a statement from Donna Jones office back in February and this is what they had to say. 

“We take homelessness very seriously and are committed” 

Renewed focus on supporting the homeless in Portsmouth 

Portsmouth City Council’s efforts to support homeless people in Portsmouth have been stepped up through appointing a new service provider, opening additional winter beds and setting up a task force within the council. 

The Society of St James (SSJ) has taken on running the homeless day service, which is open 7 days a week and offers breakfast, showers, laundry facilities and support with things like filling in forms for benefits or housing provision. 

SSJ have also launched a winter beds scheme, funded by the council, which provides an additional 28 beds during the coldest months of the year. 

To further help tackle homelessness in the city, a task force has been set up by the council. It’s headed up by Cllr Paul Godier, who has experience of homelessness himself. This task force is designed to find out more about the factors causing people to sleep rough and will look to find ways to reduce the numbers having to resort to this. 

Leader of Portsmouth City Council, Cllr Donna Jones, said; “We take homelessness very seriously and are committed to helping rough sleepers get off the streets. We’re spending £615,900 providing homeless support in the 2016/17 financial year and our appointment of SSJ aims to improve the support available by joining up the substance misuse and homelessness contracts. 

“Unfortunately there aren’t always easy solutions and whilst supporting homeless people into long-term accommodation can take time we’re pleased to have additional beds available during the winter so that fewer people face sleeping on the streets in the coldest conditions.” 

Story by: Dave Taylor 

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