MORE than £150,000 donated to help rough sleepers is now being put to good use by homelessness agencies working in the city.

Oxford Homeless Movement launched the fundraising bid in December, with the support of Oxfordshire Community Foundation.

The Christmas Match Fund, backed by the Oxford Mail, raised the funds throughout December and early January.

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Now the money is being distributed to a number of different organisations working to tackle the problem of rough sleeping, which has got worse in the city in recent years.

Oxford Mail:

These include Aspire Oxford, The Big Issue, Connection Support, Crisis Skylight Oxford, Elmore Community Services, Emmaus, The Gatehouse, Homeless Oxfordshire, Howard House, Oxford SPOT (Street Population Outreach Team), The Porch and Response.

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Emmaus general manager Eddie Blaze said: “The generosity of the people of Oxfordshire and the fact that donations have been matched by Oxfordshire Community Foundation, can really make a difference to those experiencing homelessness.

Oxford Mail:

“Additional funding means we can offer more training courses and help more people out of homelessness and move on with their lives in a positive way.

“It means a lot to Emmaus Oxford as we don’t get any large amounts of money from the council or central government, everything is paid for through our social enterprise and fundraising.”

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Kate Hill, operations manager of Connection Support, also welcomed the funding boost.

Oxford Mail:

She said: “We really value the funding from Oxford Homeless Movement as this will give us additional scope to support our clients at a time when they really need it and we can use it to make a real difference to our clients to help them move on with their lives.

“The people we support could be fleeing domestic violence, young adults with no family to guide and support them, people with mental health issues or with needs arising from their physical health.

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“At the heart of what we do is to help people become independent so we also provide support linking clients with other local organisations and agencies who can provide this.”

Oxford Mail:

The remainder of the donations will be distributed to help provide services at the assessment centre and shelter now open at Floyds Row off St Aldate’s, and support an impact fund that will be used to fund the development of new initiatives filling critical gaps.

A spokeswoman for Oxford Homeless Movement said there was still a lot of work to be done to help those who become homeless.

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She added: “We also want to concentrate on offering support in the area of prevention so that we help catch people before they fall into homelessness.”

Oxford Mail:

OCF is now seeking applications for the impact fund from organisations that can provide a contribution towards prevention of homelessness or help provide move-on housing.

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Grant applications will close on March 4.