DOZENS of rough sleepers are set to be housed by next March after Oxfordshire's councils received a £2.5m boost.

The four districts and Oxford city received funding from the government's Next Steps Accommodation Programme (NSAP) to provide rooms for the homeless.

This is split between short term support and long term projects, with the scheme's 'Housing First' model offering accommodation as the first port of call.

Oxford City Council has received more than £1m in short term funding, which will be used to provide 118 rooms in the Botley Road YHA and Canterbury House in Cowley.

It comes after the council secured 121 self-contained hotel and student rooms within two weeks when the government launched the 'Everyone In' campaign to house rough sleepers in the early stages of the pandemic.

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Long-term funding will be split three ways, with £251,400 for three years of support costs for three homes, including a women-only property and a Covid-secure winter shelter, managed by Oxford charity Aspire.

Meanwhile, £150,000 goes towards buying five of 20 houses that must be available by March, with funding also coming from the Oxfordshire Growth Deal and housing revenue account borrowing.

Of the other 15 homes, ten will come from existing council stock and five from housing associations, while £566,501 will support these up to March 2024.

Mike Rowley, the city council's cabinet member for affordable housing and housing the homeless, said: “It will help us to build upon the work we’ve done since the government called for ‘everyone in’ earlier this year.

"We continue to offer accommodation to everyone experiencing rough sleeping and have already supported 103 people into more settled housing.

"As we enter lockdown for a second time, NSAP funding will help us provide both immediate and long-term stability based on people’s needs.”

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Cherwell District Council has received £120,400 to deliver eight homes by the end of March, while it expects another £110,000 over four years for nine supported housing units in Bicester and a full-time support worker.

A spokesperson said: "We are also boosting resources in our private rented team to encourage more private landlords to offer tenancies to homeless clients.

"Further support will be provided to these tenants to help them be successful in maintaining settled accommodation."

A joint bid from South Oxfordshire and Vale of the White Horse district councils secured £65,190 each in short term funding, including six units in partnership with Soha Housing and Aspire.

Jude McCaffrey, interim director of housing and communities at Soha said: “This funding enables Soha to provide our second batch of six Housing First homes and a small budget for white goods and furniture.

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"Homes will be allocated based on where the people need to live and achieving the best outcome for them.

"The grant also pays for Aspire to support the residents one-to-one to overcome often long-term challenges - which they have previously faced without family, professional or charity advocates helping them stabilise their lifestyle - and the health toll of even intermittent rough sleeping.”

Recent figures showed South Oxfordshire is preventing 82.3 per cent of potential homelessness cases, compared to 79.1 per cent in the Vale.

The next best council is West Oxfordshire on 59.2 per cent, which received £37,000 to continue providing hotel rooms for rough sleepers.

Another £14,000 will help extend its Housing First scheme for long-term accommodation.