The number of rough sleepers in Oxford has returned to pre-pandemic levels following the end of the Everyone In initiative.

At the end of last week there were 43 people experiencing rough sleeping.

These included:

  • 17 people who had not been sleeping rough the previous week – 11 of them had never been seen sleeping rough in Oxford before
  • 6 people who were accommodated but sleeping out
  • 11 people believed to have no recourse to public funds – that is, unable to claim benefits or housing due to their immigration status.

In 2019 – pre-Covid – there were 48 rough sleepers in the city.

During Covid it was roughly in the low 20s.

During 2020 to early 2022, 120 additional student and hotel rooms were available as part of the “Everyone In” initiative.

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Cllr Linda Smith, cabinet member for housing at Oxford City Council, said a countywide alliance had been launched on Housing First principles – that people should be offered housing immediately and then supported to maintain their tenancies.

She said: "Everyone in’ demonstrated that where there’s a will, there’s a way. We need government to maintain their commitment to sufficient, sustained funding to help us prevent rough sleeping.

“The cost of living crisis is a housing crisis.

“Homelessness in England has risen by 11% in the last three months alone, and we are seeing a big influx of people onto our streets. Last week our outreach team engaged with 11 people who had never been seen sleeping rough in Oxford before.

"Private rents are at a record high housing benefit comes nowhere near meeting. The Government must also act on its promise to end the ‘no fault’ evictions that are showing a 26% increase on pre-pandemic levels.”

A DLUHC spokesperson said: “The number of rough sleepers has fallen in every region of England, taking levels to an eight-year low.

“We are working closely with Oxford City Council to tackle the issue, this includes investing £3.8 million over three years to support rough sleepers into long term accommodation.

"On top of this more than £400,000 is helping those with drug or alcohol issues in the city access rehab services so they can turn their lives around.”



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