Homelessness prevention funds 2022/23
We have agreed a £1.85m grant budget to help prevent rough sleeping and single homelessness in 2022/23 – a 17% increase on 2021/22.
This record investment in homelessness prevention grants comes in support of a new £3.8m ‘housing led’ service tackling homelessness across Oxfordshire from 1 April.
The countywide homelessness service is the culmination of three years of work between Oxfordshire’s six councils, the NHS, Crisis and local partners – including people with lived experience of rough sleeping – to develop a system wide approach to tackling homelessness. This puts homelessness prevention, collective responsibility and effective joint working at its heart.
The result of this work is a new default model for preventing and reducing rough sleeping as well as more jointly funded services.
New service, new model
Traditionally, people who have experienced rough sleeping in the UK have tended to move from the streets to independent living in stages. This approach assumes that people need to engage with support services before they are ready to move on to the next stage.
Housing led approaches like Housing First instead say that people should be offered permanent housing immediately and without preconditions like engaging with treatment services. Wraparound support can then be provided to help them maintain their tenancies.
A housing led approach will now be the default response to ending rough sleeping in Oxfordshire.
More jointly funded services, more beds
Last year we contributed £219,030 to a £846,000 pooled budget with other Oxfordshire councils and the NHS. This provided a total of 106 jointly commissioned beds, with 79 of these reserved for people with a local connection to Oxford. We also commissioned another 151 beds on top of this, meaning that 231 beds were available to people experiencing rough sleeping in Oxford.
For 2022/23, our contribution to the pooled budget increases to £1,911,399. This includes £985,580 in homelessness prevention grants, with the remainder coming through government Rough Sleeper Initiative funding.
The pooled Oxfordshire budget will provide 236 beds available to anyone experiencing rough sleeping in Oxford. We are also continuing to directly commission 96 beds under existing commitments – meaning that 334 beds will be available in total.
Supported accommodation (£1,379,780)
In addition to the £968,580 contribution to the pooled Oxfordshire budget, we are making grants of £411,200 for a range of supported accommodation provided by A2Dominion, Response and Connection Support.
A further £30,000 will be used to provide emergency shelter (SWEP) during severe winter weather.
Positive activities and help to get into work (£186,867)
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 new day services and funding for the women’s hub launched by Aspire and The Gatehouse in October.
Employment support funding allows Aspire to provide training and employment opportunities for homeless and vulnerably housed people.
These grants include a contribution towards the council’s rough sleeping and single homeless team and £25,000 in match funding for Greater Change.
Greater Change helps people leave homelessness behind by providing financial support like rent in advance, deposits and training courses.
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.