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Portsmouth City Council has awarded a new contract for rough sleeping services in the city.

The Society of St James will take over the contract on 1 October 2021 and will deliver over an initial 2.5 year contract term until 31 March 2024.

The new contract will combine three exiting contracted services for homeless people in Portsmouth – the homeless day service on Milton Road, the street homeless outreach service and the former night bed service for rough sleepers. The current providers for these services are Two Saints and The Society of St James.

The service will be funded using a combined investment of £4.6m including funds from the Ministry of Housing Communities and Local Government (MHCLG), £2.1m capital funding from the purchase of the three accommodation blocks, and £500,000 from the City Council  for homeless day support services.

This will offer a new Rough Sleeping Hub on Elm Grove to replace the homeless day service, an outreach team to engage with rough sleepers in the city and an accommodation pathway with support to prevent and relieve their homelessness.

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.”

Councillor Darren Sanders, Cabinet Member for Housing and Preventing Homelessness said: “This is excellent news. 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.”

On 1 April 2021, the council published invitation to tender for the service running for 6 weeks.

There were 16 expressions of interest, of which three organisations submitted a bid for contract. Bids submitted were assessed on a number of key areas and there was a robust and rigorous procurement process.