A centre in Oxford for discussions about how to tackle homelessness is to close today.

Open House in Little Clarendon Street, the public talking shop created by local design cooperative Transition by Design, has now concluded its successful pilot.

The project made use of an empty shop to create a space for people to better understand housing issues in the city and what could be done to improve housing for all.

Open House has been open for 195 days, has run 159 events, and welcomed over 5,400 people through the door.

Seventy-eight volunteers have put in just over 2,200 hours to run Open House and help to make people feel at home.

READ AGAIN: Can you help raise £1.5m in six months for rough sleepers?

Lucy Warin, of Transition by Design, the project designer for Open House, said: “It’s been an amazing year at Open House.

Oxford Mail:

“We’ve welcomed people of all ages, from across Oxfordshire with many different experiences of housing and homelessness.

"Through tea, biscuits and jigsaw puzzles we’ve better understood our own housing experiences and that of others, in a way that’s built empathy and action towards creating a housing system that’s better for all.”

Earlier this month Open House hosted the launch of Oxford Homeless Movement, which aims to raise £1.5m in six months for homelessness agencies.

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Popular topics of conversation at Open House have been; how to finance and build more social housing, how to make renting affordable and more secure, how to better help people experiencing homelessness, how women and LGBTQI+ people experience insecure housing and homelessness, what can be learnt from the squatting movement, and how Oxford can meet its housing needs without harming the environment.

Sarah Maitland-Parks, a regular visitor and occasional volunteer at Open House, said: “Open House is warm, welcoming and surprising. I’ve had open conversations with people of different social backgrounds and educational levels about housing in an honest, and open way and learnt a great deal from others’ experiences."

Oxford Mail:

READ AGAIN: A new approach to tackling rough sleeping and homelessness

Events at Open House have bought some of the UK’s leading figures on housing and homelessness, connecting them with local campaigners and projects in Oxford.

Oxford Mail:

As well as one-off events, Open House has hosted weekly sessions including creative writing, arts and crafts, and coffee mornings, all designed to connect people from across the city with different experiences of housing.

Jane Cranston, chairperson of the Oxford Homeless Movement said: "Open House has been delivering on many of the aims of the Oxford Homeless Movement by bringing greater visibility to Oxford’s work in the area of homelessness and rough sleeping.

"It has provided a space for volunteers, supporters and homeless people alike to discover more about what’s available or just to talk and to listen.

Oxford Mail:

"We’re proud that they have been part of OHM and I’m only sorry that ‘the year’ is up.”

Transition by Design is exploring what’s next for Open House.

Options including opening another space in Oxford.