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The Ministry of Housing, Communities and Local Government (MHCLG) has awarded £117,000 in funding for a new pilot which will provide safe accommodation for over 30 victims of violence and abuse who are at risk of sleeping rough in Portsmouth.

The new accommodation will be in addition to the three accommodation sites recently purchased by the council (The Registry, Kingsway House, Elm Grove Library) which provide a temporary housing pathway for eligible rough sleepers.

Safe housing will be provided to victims of domestic abuse, rape or sexual assault, sex workers, victims of exploitation, or violence.

Female service users will receive specialist support alongside accommodation in a single gender space.

This support, provided by Two Saints and Stop Domestic Abuse, will be flexible and client led. Focused on homelessness and improved health and wellbeing; support will build on individual’s skills, safety and resilience, and will include specialist trauma informed domestic abuse and psychological support.

The trial programme will include support for victims with complex needs such as substance misuse, migrant victims of abuse, and victims of sex trafficking.

As part of the programme, victims will be offered advice and support to access suitable and more permanent safe accommodation.

Cllr Darren Sanders, Cabinet Member for Housing and Preventing Homelessness said:

“This is an exciting opportunity for Portsmouth which will enable us to pull together the work that we are doing in a number of different areas – preventing rough sleeping; our Domestic Abuse strategy and our Safer Streets project.

“Working in partnership with Two Saints and Stop Domestic Abuse we hope to give respite and support to women at risk of abuse and exploitation, empowering and enabling them to move forward in their lives.”

James McDermott, Regional Director at Two Saints said: “We are very excited to be working in partnership with Portsmouth City Council and Stop Domestic Abuse to improve outcomes for women experiencing homeless to improve their well-being and safety.”

Claire Lambon, CEO at Stop Domestic Abuse said: “Stop Domestic Abuse is committed to providing specialist support to all victims of domestic abuse. We are delighted to work in partnership with Portsmouth City Council on this project. Female victims of domestic violence and abuse need the support of a specialist to overcome this trauma.

“32% of homeless women said domestic abuse contributed to their homelessness. It is vital that specialist domestic abuse support is part of this project. ”

The accommodation is due to launch in October 2021.