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Portsmouth City Council has been successful in securing over £1.6 million in government funding for the next two years to continue its work supporting rough sleepers to recover from drug and alcohol misuse.

The funding – from the rough sleeping drug and alcohol treatment grant – is part of the government’s new rough sleeping strategy which sets out ambitions to “end rough sleeping for good”. The strategy acknowledges the strong links between drug misuse, homelessness and rough sleeping and the need to support those with mental health needs, who may be sleeping rough because of, or with mental ill-health.

Cllr Darren Sanders, Cabinet Member for Housing and Preventing Homelessness, at Portsmouth City Council, said:

“The grant will provide additional funding for our rough sleeping drug and alcohol team who support people who are currently rough sleeping or at risk of rough sleeping in the city. It will allow for additional drug and alcohol support workers within the team as well as mental health specialists.

“This will help us to address the underlying issues which may have led to rough sleeping and make sure clients get the support and treatment they need for long-term recovery.

This is part of an ambitious package to tackle the causes of homelessness and help those affected by it. I’m delighted that we’ve been awarded further funding to support our work in this area.”

The rough sleeping drug and alcohol team currently works with around 100 clients at any one time. Clients are supported in accessing drug and alcohol treatment and provided wrap-around support including counselling sessions and access to life skills workers helping with skills such as cooking, budgeting, and tenancy management.

Treatment can include inpatient detoxification (detox) and residential rehabilitation (rehab). In 2021/22, 34 clients of the service benefited from inpatient detox and 32 from residential rehab.

The team is based at Portsmouth Central library and currently includes drug and alcohol support workers, a part-time mental health nurse, a part-time clinical psychologist and full-time assistant psychologists and peer mentors. The management and running of the team is overseen by the Society of St James (SSJ), which also runs the Portsmouth Recovery Hub in Elm Grove.

Client Callum, describing his experience of support, said:

“From the get-go I felt like somebody really cared for me, and I was supported on a path that made me feel the same way about myself. I was not a perfect client by any means and regularly missed appointments and could not stop using, but I feel the flexibility and ongoing support was one of the key techniques to my success. I now have my family back in my life, I have a roof over my head, I have a beautiful relationship with my daughter but most importantly I have gained a healthy relationship with myself which is something I have never had. I don’t believe any of this would have been possible if it wasn’t for the service that was provided to me. I am truly grateful.”

Anyone wanting support regarding rough sleeping or with drugs or alcohol can find out more at or by calling 023 9229 4573.