A NEW movement is calling on the public to raise £1.5m in six months to help tackle rough sleeping.

Yesterday was World Homeless Day, also the launch date for Oxford Homeless Movement, which aims to ensure that no one should have to sleep rough on the streets of Oxford.

The launch followed an Office for National Statistics report which estimated that 33 homeless people had died in the city between 2013 and 2017, making it one of the worst problem areas in the country.

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Now the movement’s new website will allow people to make donations online to support homelessness agencies.

Speaking at the launch yesterday, where representatives signed a new charter to tackle rough sleeping, Jane Cranston, chairwoman of Oxford Homeless Movement, said: “The one thing that is inevitable is that helps needs money.

Oxford Mail:

“All the organisations in the sector, including the government ones, are strapped for cash and if we, through this community movement, can raise £1m or more just think what a difference we could make.

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“It sounds a lot but only £10 a head from each of the 150,000 residents of Oxford would bring in £1.5m.

“I would like to see £1.5m raised in the next six months - it’s a big ask but I think we could do it.”

Oxford Mail:

Ms Cranston added that as well as donating cash people could donate their time to help, or come forward with an innovative idea.

City councillor Linda Smith, deputy leader and cabinet member for leisure and housing, said raising £1.5m in such a short space of time was a ‘noble aim’.

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Before the launch, Ms Smith 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 the city 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.

Oxford Mail:

“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.

“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.

Oxford Mail:

This brought together more than 100 organisations and people who wanted more action to tackle the homelessness crisis.

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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.

The launch took place yesterday at Open House in Little Clarendon Street.

For more visit oxfordhomelessmovement.org.uk