ROUGH sleepers will not have to go back to the streets of Oxford over the next year, according to the city council.

The council has paid for 124 rooms in different buildings across the city which it is using to house people who had previously been sleeping on the streets.

Along with other councils, Oxford City Council was tasked with housing all the city’s rough sleepers during the coronavirus lockdown as part of a government programme called ‘Everyone In’.

This was intended to halt the spread of the virus among rough sleepers and so far, there have been no confirmed cases of Covid-19 among Oxford’s rough sleepers.

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There were concerns about what would happen to the rough sleepers once the Everyone In programme finished.

But at a city council meeting in June, councillors were told there were plans to make sure people were not just turfed out onto the streets again.

Now, the city council has paid for rooms in an Oxford Brookes halls of residence at Canterbury House on the Cowley Road until July 2021.

Oxford Mail:

Mike Rowley, the Oxford City Councillor responsible for overseeing homelessness prevention

It has also extended an agreement with the Youth Hostel Association on Botley Road until March next year.

Along with six rooms leased from University College, the council has a total of 124 self-contained rooms for rough sleepers.

A total of 203 people have been housed in hotel and student rooms in Oxford over the past four months.

Of these, 76 have been supported into more permanent housing.

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The rooms where they have lived have been in a patchwork of different places, but the council’s new arrangement means they will be in fewer locations.

The council is waiting to hear what its share of a £105m fund to end rough sleeping will be.

Mike Rowley, the council cabinet member for affordable housing and housing the homeless, said he looked forward to working with government to ‘end the rough sleeping crisis’.

It is unsure what funding will be available after July 2021 to prevent rough sleeping, but the government has previously said it is committed to ending homelessness.