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Saturday (1 October) marked the first anniversary of the Portsmouth rough sleeping pathway, providing a way out of homelessness using temporary accommodation and support services.

Over the past year 252 men and women have entered the pathway, occupying one of 105 rooms at three sites operated by the Society of St James.

The council bought The Registry in the city centre to provide emergency accommodation, and two blocks of flats in Elm Grove for more settled occupants.

They were bought with the help of Government funding and replaced a system which relied heavily on use of a ‘night bed service’ before the COVID-19 pandemic.

Cabinet member for Housing and Preventing Homelessness, Cllr Darren Sanders, said: “The first year of the rough sleeping pathway has shown the success of Portsmouth City Council’s approach with our partners. I’m delighted at how many people have benefited from the system as well as how we are targeting the causes of homelessness as well as its effects.

“Since April 2020, the Government has allocated Portsmouth nearly £10m to deal with homelessness and meet the national aim of ending rough sleeping in 2025. Much of this funding has been, and will continue, to be used in the support work which is vital in addressing some of the personal problems which cause homelessness or worsen as a result of it.”

While many of the 252 people who have used the pathway accommodation are still on their journey towards having a stable and permanent home, 75 have rented somewhere privately, 49 have gone into long-term supported housing, 13 into social housing and 10 have returned to their families.

The pathway also operates a rough sleeping hub which provides essential facilities during the day for people sleeping rough who can’t access pathway accommodation (often due to their immigration status) or choose not to go down that route.

During the first year there have been about 400 different people who have used the hub a total of 4,000 occasions. The hub also gives housing workers a chance to engage with rough sleepers and this will often be the best chance they have to speak to them and possibly offer them a room in the pathway.

If there is someone you think is sleeping rough, the best way to report their situation is via Street Link or calling them on 0300 500 0914.