CITY council leaders are to spend an additional £1m on tackling rough sleeping in Oxford.

Oxford City Council is increasing its investment on preventing homelessness and rough sleeping to £7.4m in 2020/2021.

The increased investment means the council will spend an extra £1.2m on tackling homelessness and rough sleeping in the coming financial year – a 19 per cent increase.

Oxford Mail:

This will allow the council to continue its transformation of homelessness services with the full opening of the assessment hub and shelter in Floyds Row, fund more than 220 beds for rough sleepers in the city, and provide a wide range of support to prevent families from becoming homeless.

Oxford Mail:

The £1.9m Floyds Row centre off St Aldate’s opened last month.

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There were 43 people counted sleeping rough in Oxford during the November street count - that figure was down to 25 last month.

The additional £1.2m will help the council to provide a full range of services at the new assessment hub and shelter in Floyds Row.

Linda Smith, deputy leader and cabinet member for leisure and housing, said: “On most days, an hour in the heart of our city will reveal the terrible human cost of a national homelessness crisis sparked by austerity, welfare reform and a broken rental market.

Oxford Mail:

"Much less obvious is the work that we and our partners do to help hundreds of people off the streets every year.

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“But homelessness prevention is about more than rough sleeping and can include finding housing for families or supporting parents facing eviction because they can’t afford to pay the rent and put food on the table.

“In January we opened our new assessment hub and shelter in Floyds Row. Co-designed by homeless people, Floyds Row is a place where people can get the shelter and support they need to move on from the streets and into sustainable housing as quickly as possible.

“Homelessness is not inevitable and it is not something we will ever accept. Everybody deserves a decent roof over their head and nobody should have to sleep rough in Oxford.”

Oxford Mail:

Floyds Row is the centrepiece of the council’s transformation programme and its first wing opened on January 16. Its role is to prevent rough sleeping and get people off the streets more quickly, through improved assessment and a range of new accommodation and support services.

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The new centre is open round the clock all year round and provides access to onsite support for drug and alcohol dependency.

Floyds Row will be ‘fully open’ in April.

At full capacity during winter months it will provide assessment services and shelter for up to 56 people.

Oxford Mail:

The council has been spending millions on tackling rough sleeping and in 2019 successfully prevented homelessness for 458 families.