Homelessness prevention funds 2021/22
We have agreed a £1.6m grant budget to help prevent rough sleeping and single homelessness in 2021/22.
Homelessness prevention grants are part of our overall £9.1m investment to prevent homelessness and rough sleeping in 2021/22. These grants fund supported accommodation, street engagement initiatives, funding for council teams preventing homelessness, positive activities and employment support.
Supported accommodation (£856,575)
Funding for supported accommodation includes our £219,030 contribution to a pooled budget with other Oxfordshire councils and the NHS. This will provide a total of 106 jointly commissioned beds and 79 of these will be reserved for people with a local connection to Oxford.
It also includes £607,545 for support staff and up to 101 beds in a range of supported accommodation provided by Matilda House, Homeless Oxfordshire, Response and Mayday Trust. The remaining £30,000 will be used to provide emergency shelter (SWEP) during severe winter weather.
Street engagement (£47,500)
Funding for street engagement allows our street ambassador team and Thames Valley Police to engage with people experiencing rough sleeping – helping them to access services and to prevent anti-social behaviour.
Preventing homelessness (£78,009)
These grants fund a specialist tenancy sustainment officer at Elmore Community Services working with our tenants. They also contribute towards our welfare reform team that helps people cope with changes to their benefits.
Positive activities and employment support (£199,367)
Positive activities grants provide core funding for The Porch day centre and the Gatehouse café, whose services include showers and laundry, food, training and education and a range of activities. These grants also include £61,164 to commission new day services provided at O’Hanlon House before the pandemic.
Employment support funding allows Aspire to provide training and employment opportunities for homeless and vulnerably housed people.
These grants include a contribution towards our rough sleeping and single homeless team, free access to leisure services for people in supported accommodation and a sanctuary scheme for people experiencing domestic abuse.
As the pandemic hit in March 2020, the government issued an ‘everyone in’ direction for councils to provide emergency housing for vulnerable homeless people, including those living in shared hostel spaces where they would be unable to practise social distancing. This meant the closure of the sit up (assessment) service at O’Hanlon House and the assessment hub and shelter in Floyds Row that had opened in January.
We secured a patchwork of 121 self-contained hotel and student rooms within two weeks of the direction. As temporary agreements with hotels and colleges came to an end in July, we leased two blocks to provide 118 rooms of interim housing for another year.
We hope that the vaccination programme will offer a way out of ‘everyone in’ arrangements and back to Floyds Row in 2021/22. The unallocated contingency fund will, if needed, allow us to manage this transition.