MORE than 200 households in Oxford have been made homeless during the first six months of the Covid-19 crisis despite round-the-clock pledges from the Government to protect people.

A total of 325 families applied to Oxford City Council for homelessness support from April to September last year, a period which includes the peak months of the pandemic.

Of these, 208 were already homeless, and a further 112 were deemed at 'severe risk' of homelessness.

The shocking figures shared by the tenants union Acorn Oxford 'shine a light on the failure of the Government to protect tenants'.

ALSO READ: Police staff ordered to ignore NHS Track and Trace app alert

However, they do not include the impact of the most recent wave of the virus.

Safieh Kabir of Acorn Oxford commented: "These horrifying figures show how many of us renters and precarious mortgage holders have been left out to dry by the Government.

"We need an immediate halt to all evictions, and our communities must intervene to prevent any landlords or banks trying to turf people out of their homes."

Under the new national lockdown the ban on evictions has been extended for another six weeks – until February 21.

This is unless tenants are in 'substantial rent arrears', in a move Acorn pointed out is 'grossly insufficient'.

ALSO READ: Concerns over alleged 'mask flouters' in pizza takeaway

The subject is set to be reviewed and the ban could be extended again in future.

Councillor Mike Rowley, cabinet member for affordable housing and housing the homeless, confirmed there was an increase from 2019 but said that 2020's figures include vulnerable homeless people who were sleeping on the streets and in shared hostels before the March lockdown, when the Government directed local authorities to get 'everyone in'.

Mr Rowley commented: "Even though it does not go far enough to protect renters the eviction ban is the main cause for the fall in homelessness prevention cases from 2019 to 2020, with far fewer private rented tenants needing help from the council.

ALSO READ: One arrested after hare coursing incident

"Just under half of homes in Oxford are now private rented, and we know that the cost of renting privately and the financial impact of the pandemic would put many people at risk of homelessness if the eviction ban is lifted.

"We have called on the Government to protect private tenants by maintaining the eviction ban, delivering the Renters Reform Bill promised in the Queen’s Speech in November 2019 and ending section 21 evictions for good now.

"The resumption of evictions would also undermine our efforts to help ensure that nobody should have to sleep rough in Oxford."