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Vacant Nuffield College accommodation used to house homeless people

Biba Jones reports on how Nuffield College's Becket Street accommodation has been repurposed to house the homeless for the next two years.

Sixteen homeless people have recently been offered homes in properties owned by Nuffield College. These residents will be housed in the college’s Becket Street accommodation for the next two years.

The properties, having been empty for 18 months, have been revamped to provide housing in which residents can have a “sense of ownership”.  Project architect Katie Reilly of Transition by Design explained, for example, that unlike in many rental accommodations, residents can have the autonomy to paint their own bedrooms. 

Nuffield College has been working with homeless charity Aspire Oxford in the scheme, aiming to provide housing that will remain affordable even after residents find jobs. Aspire had previously forged a working relationship with the college after participating in a study into homelessness carried out by Nuffield’s Centre for Social Investigation. 

Nuffield College told Cherwell: “We were very pleased to support Aspire Oxford’s Becket St Project by enabling some of the College’s unused properties to be used and improved by them on a temporary basis while we think about and put in place plans for their longer-term future.”

“The properties on Becket Street became vacant in late 2019 and we are glad to have been able to make them available for purposes which will bring tangible benefits to the local community. This aligns with the College’s objectives as a social science research institution which seeks not only to build bridges between the academic and public worlds, but also to contribute to the cultural, social, and economic life of the city of Oxford,” they added.

Additionally Paul Roberts, CEO of Aspire Oxford, said that Aspire is working to give the residents “access to engage with our education, training, employment development programs, helping them build up their own personal funds to be able to afford a deposit and to start putting rent payments down and to get into work.”

Apart from this collaboration with Nuffield College, Aspire has also worked alongside Wadham College, University College, and Christ Church in refurbishing properties for new purposes.

Image: Islip Flyer. Attribution 2.0 Generic (CC BY 2.0)

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