Oxford City Council has announced it will be spending £1.2 million more on preventing homelessness and rough sleeping next year.
The additional funds bring the council’s total spending on the issue to £7.4 million, and are part of a larger effort by the council to transform their approach to homelessness.
Much of the money will go towards the completion of the new shelter and assessment hub in Floyds Row, the first wing of which opened last month.
It’s a space co-designed by people experiencing homelessness that includes a range of accommodation, a treatment room for drug and alcohol dependency and intensive support to help people move on from a life on the streets.
The centre will be fully open in April, providing a warm, calm and safe environment for those sleeping rough to access support and advice on accommodation.
Councillor Linda Smith said, “On most days, an hour in the heart of our city will reveal the terrible human cost of a national homelessness crisis sparked by austerity, welfare reform and a broken rental market.
“Much less obvious is the work that we and our partners do to help hundreds of people off the streets every year … Homelessness is not inevitable and it is not something we will ever accept.”
This comes on top of the progress the council and charities have made in reducing the numbers of those rough sleeping in the city.
43 people were counted sleeping on the streets last November, a number down nearly a third since 2017.
Moreover, the council has said that in 2019 it prevented homelessness for 458 families. Hopefully the extra funding will lead to even better statistics next year, as more people are helped to access the safe housing they need.