A NEW citywide partnership is being launched today to help prevent rough sleeping in Oxford.

Today is World Homeless Day, also the launch date for Oxford Homeless Movement, which aims to ensure that nobody should have to sleep rough on the streets of Oxford.

It comes after a report this year from the Office for National Statistics which estimated that 33 homeless people had died in Oxford between 2013 and 2017, making it one of the worst in the country.

Now a new website will allow people to make donations to support homelessness agencies.

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City councillor Linda Smith, deputy leader and cabinet member for leisure and housing, said: “Whether you’re a business, an organisation or an individual, everybody can do something to help end homelessness in Oxford.

“We know that people who live and work in Oxford are concerned about rough sleeping and want to help, and the Movement website makes it easy to do this.

"You can find out how to give your time, money and help in kind to organisations helping people experiencing homelessness, and donate directly to Oxford Homeless Movement.

"All the money the Movement raises will be split between charities providing services in the city, the assessment hub and shelter opening in Floyds Row and a new impact fund aimed at developing new services.

Oxford Mail:

“By working together we can help achieve our goal that nobody should have to sleep rough on the streets of Oxford.”

In November 2017 the council held the City Conversation on rough sleeping. This brought together more than 100 organisations and people who wanted more action to tackle the homelessness crisis.

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The City Conversation agreed that no one should have to sleep rough in Oxford and to develop a rough sleeping charter setting out a common vision for helping people experiencing homelessness.

Oxford Mail:

The council has been working in partnership with Oxfordshire Community Foundation, local homelessness organisations, community groups, students, concerned individuals and people with experience of homelessness to turn the City Conversation into action.

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The Oxford Homeless Movement is the result of different organisations working together.

The new partnership has produced an Oxford rough sleeping charter and is now asking businesses, organisations and individuals to sign up to its vision and values – and to make a commitment to help end rough sleeping in the city.

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Oxford Mail:

The Oxford Homeless Movement website provides information on how to give time, money or help in kind to organisations supporting people sleeping rough. It also gives guidance and advice for people experiencing homelessness who need help.

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People can also donate directly to Oxford Homeless Movement on the website.

All money raised by the partnership will be split between charities providing services for homeless people in the city, the delivery of the new engagement and assessment hub opening in Floyds Row, and a new impact fund aimed at developing new services.

Oxford Homeless Movement is holding a drop in event today at Open House, 36 Little Clarendon Street.

This will take place between 10am and 1pm and later from 3pm until 6.30pm.

People, businesses and organisations are invited to drop in to show their support, sign the rough sleeping charter and discuss what action they can take to help end rough sleeping in Oxford.

Oxford Mail:

The city council is committed to preventing and reducing all forms of homelessness. In 2019/2020 the council has committed £6m to homelessness prevention, including providing more than 200 beds for people experiencing rough sleeping.

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Earlier this week councillors agreed a new approach to tackling rough sleeping this winter.

This will mean improved assessment and a range of new short-term accommodation services aimed at getting people off the streets and into sustainable housing more quickly.

This will include providing winter-long emergency shelter available to anyone sleeping rough – whether or not they have a local connection.

Jane Cranston, chairwoman of Oxford Homeless Movement, said: “It feels particularly apt to be launching Oxford Homeless Movement on World Homeless Day because we’re working together with the aim of ensuring that nobody should have to sleep rough in Oxford.

Oxford Mail:

“If you need help or want to help but don’t know what to do, our website can link you with the right services and people.

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“You can also make a donation through the website to help the services that already work so hard to help people experiencing homelessness in Oxford and to fund new initiatives.”

For more visit oxfordhomelessmovement.org.uk