This document describes what we're doing to tackle homelessness in Oxford, including how we're helping families, rough sleepers, funding and how you can help.

Effects of homelessness

Homelessness takes many forms and includes families facing eviction because they can't afford to put food on the table and pay the rent as well as single people sleeping on the streets. Rough sleeping is the most visible form of homelessness, but we are committed to preventing and reducing all types of homelessness.

Street homelessness has a significant impact on physical and mental health. The Office for National Statistics reports that the average age of death for a homeless person is 45 for men and 43 for women, compared with 76 and 81 in the general population.

Street homelessness is dangerous, frightening and isolating. Rough sleepers are more likely to be victims of crime and exploitation and are 17 times more likely to be victims of violence than the general public. A quarter of female rough sleepers have been sexually assaulted while sleeping on the streets.

The high human cost of homelessness puts increased pressure on public services – for example, on mental health and hospital A&E services. Research for Crisis in 2015 revealed the additional cost to public services for a single man sleeping rough for 12 months could reach £20,128.

Why are there so many homeless people in Oxford?

In 2017 rough sleeping in England hit record levels and the national homelessness crisis is all too evident on the streets of Oxford. Our annual estimate of the number of people experiencing homelessness has been going up for the last five years and in November 2018 stood at 94. Overarching national issues like welfare reform, precarious private renting and austerity-driven cuts to mental health and social care support services drive the shocking rise in street homelessness. In Oxfordshire, these cuts include more than £2 million a year in countywide housing support for single people experiencing homelessness.

It is a vicious cycle because it takes more than a roof to end homelessness. Many people experiencing homelessness in Oxford have unmet support needs that include physical and mental health or substance misuse issues. Cuts to support services make it harder for us to engage with people and help them to come inside or prevent them from returning to the streets.

Rate this page