WITH winter looming, a charity is calling for more to be done to help the city’s homeless as it marks its second birthday.

An army of volunteers and residents came down to the Asian Cultural Centre, off Manzil Way, yesterday to join in the Oxford Homeless Project’s feast.

But founder Shabnam Sabir said despite the incredible generosity of volunteers, there are still huge gaps in support for the city’s growing homeless community.

The mum-of-four said: “The day when we no longer have anyone living on our streets is the day when we have done enough and are no longer failing them.

“These people are human beings and when we see more and more of them come to us for the lunch, then clearly not enough is being done by the council to help them.

“Everytime they come to our lunch I am completely humbled by what they have been through.

“And I think we all need to make more of a concious effort to help them because you never know when it could strike and affect you.”

Born out of her desire to help others during Ramadan, Ms Sabir was able to then establish the project, which feeds around 50 homeless people every fortnight a fresh, hot meal.

But the charity knows it will be helping more as the winter draws nearer, bringing around 100 people to the centre for the lunch.

Around 100 households per month approach Oxford City Council as homeless and request assistance, and there is an estimated 100 people sleeping rough in the city.

She added: “I have been amazed by the support shown by the community, I have the same people messaging me telling me they will be ready with a curry or another dish and they never fail to do so.

“Their kindness and generosity is so overwhelming and I am pleased we had this celebration to also reflect and thank them.

“But our work is far from over, there is still so much more to do.”

Although the city council spends £1.4million a year on day services, outreach and resettlement services for the homeless community, street counts of rough sleepers show sustained levels across the city.

The city’s labour group is proposing to set up a Rough Sleeping Commission to examine the causes and solutions to the rise in single person street homelessness and there is a call to transform unused buildings into temporary shelters.

Spokesman Chofamba Sithole said: “Evidence collected in Oxford has shown that most rough-sleepers have entrenched issues with drug addiction, and some also suffer from mental health problems and domestic abuse.

“We also fund a range of services that provide support, including the Big Issue and education, and employment services and work with the police and charities to help those living on the street who are vulnerable to criminal exploitation.”