A NEWLY formed action group aims to shine a light on the issue of homelessness in prosperous west Oxfordshire and raise awareness of the growing problem.

Deborah Robson-Grey, of Welsh Way, Witney, founded Homes4All this winter after seeing people camping out in the town in sub-zero temperatures and learning of many others struggling to find accommodation.

Scores of people have now offered their support to the group, which aims to give a voice to those facing life on the streets.

Ms Robson-Grey said: “A friend of mine recently helped a struggling couple into a caravan and I knew of other people who were sleeping on friends' sofas or out on the streets.

“I couldn't believe that it was going on in this day and age. I started talking and other people seemed passionate about it straight away.

“We all put suggestions in and realised we didn’t want it to be about a specific group. Everybody should have the right to a roof over their head.

“Before we knew it, about 70 people had sent me private messages offering their support and it just kept exploding.”

The 49-year-old mum experienced the struggle of finding a property through the council herself in 2016, when she and her 22-year-old daughter tried to find a home in West Oxfordshire.

Following a fall which led to an infection, Ms Robson-Grey had her right leg amputated below the knee, making her housing requirements more specific than most. She and her daughter were moved around several hotels for a series of months before being housed.

When she mentioned the challenges of finding a home, she was amazed to receive offers of support.

Jo Peel, 44, from Cogges in Witney, works at the Sir William Dunn School of Pathology at the University of Oxford. She said many did not believe homelessness was a problem in west Oxfordshire.

She said: "I've seen where some of the people are camping and you wouldn't put an animal in those conditions.

"It's about getting a social conscience and shining a light on the problem. A lot of people aren't aware that there is an issue with homelessness here.

"We're just people from the community. We're not experts. We just want to make a point that people in society do care and think that what is happening is not acceptable."

Corey Jordan, 22, and Melissa Stratford, 19, are one couple Homes4All is aiming to support, both left with limited options due to difficult relationships with family.

The pair spent about eight months on the streets last year and are now staying with friends, moving from sofa to sofa. They have two children – Katie, two, and 10-month-old Skye – who were taken into care, and Miss Stratford is pregnant again.

Mr Jordan said: “Me and Melissa don’t have many friends as it is. We don’t even have family. And it’s reached the point that we’ve asked so many people we’re getting close going back on the streets in the cold.

“We just feel powerless and left behind and it feels like people don’t want to listen. We need things like Homes4All because they help our voices be heard.”

Homes4All is aware of about eight people in the area struggling with homelessness, either moving from sofa to sofa, or camping out in tents.

To find out more or offer support visit bit.ly/2iGIpvB