CITY council leaders will press the government for continued funding to ensure that rough sleepers sheltered as a result of coronavirus do not have to go back on the streets.

Mike Rowley has been appointed the new cabinet member for housing and homelessness, following Linda Smith’s work in the role.

He said the team effort to provide rough sleepers with temporary accommodation had been a success and should provide an opportunity to keep them off the streets.

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Mr Rowley added: “We are urgently pressing the government for financial support to ensure none of the people we have housed have to go back on the streets.

“Dozens of people are now under a roof who have never engaged with homelessness services before - it’s an opportunity we can’t afford to miss.

Oxford Mail:

“I have noticed a reduction in the number of rough sleepers during lockdown although some are still refusing our help.”

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Mr Rowley thanked Oxford University, colleges, the Youth Hostel Association and guest houses for providing temporary accommodation.

He added: “The council has also spent a considerable amount of its own money on this because the government funding has not been adequate to deal with the scale of the problem. We appreciate that these organisations which have supported us can not go on providing accommodation indefinitely.”

Jane Cranston, chair of Oxford Homeless Movement, earlier praised council staff for the ‘immense’ amount of work undertaken to house the city’s rough sleepers so quickly.

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She said: “We are delighted the relationships we have helped to foster across the city are now able to pay dividends and our huge thanks to so many of our members and supporters who have rallied round behind the city’s efforts.”