Oxford City Council has opened a winter shelter open to anyone who is experiencing rough sleeping.
At full capacity the new shelter will provide winterlong accommodation for up to 13 people – whether or not they have a local connection or recourse to public funds.
The winter shelter is part of the council’s new approach to tackling rough sleeping and homelessness. This transformation began last month with the opening of a Somewhere Safe to Stay service for newly homeless people and those at risk of sleeping rough.
The winter shelter is operating on an interim basis in Simon House while the council completes the conversion of 1 Floyds Row into a new engagement and assessment centre and shelter for up to 56 people.
Access to the winter shelter is through the assessment and outreach team, OxSPOT.
The winterlong shelter and Somewhere Safe to Stay will transfer to Floyds Row when the first phase of the conversion is completed in January. St Mungo’s is running both services for the council.
“We believe that nobody should have to sleep rough in Oxford and that’s why we made a commitment to provide more winterlong shelter to anyone experiencing homelessness – wherever they’re from, whatever the weather. I’m really pleased to be able to announce that we’ve opened the winter shelter.
“Providing accommodation all winter will make it easier for us to help people off the streets for good. It will provide stability and the certainty that they have a bed for the night, every night. While we expect that we will still need to activate emergency beds during freezing weather, the winter shelter is an important part of our plans to transform homelessness services in Oxford.”
Councillor Linda Smith, deputy leader and cabinet member for leisure and housing