Transformation of homelessness services continues with Floyds Row handover

Published: Tuesday, 17th December 2019

Oxford City Council’s transformation of homelessness services has taken another step forward as Floyds Row prepares to open next month.

Oxford Direct Services (ODS) is completing the conversion of the former jobcentre into an assessment hub and shelter and handed over the first phase of the project to the council last Friday (13 December).

St Mungo’s will be running services at Floyds Row and is now preparing to open the new hub and shelter in January. Work needed before Floyds Row can open includes a health and safety check, installing furniture and fittings and staff training.

Opening Floyds Row

Three services currently running on an interim basis at Simon House will transfer to Floyds Row when it opens in early January:

  • Somewhere Safe to Stay offers beds for up to seven nights to people at risk of rough sleeping and new rough sleepers while they participate in an intensive “right first time” assessment that identifies suitable housing and links them with the other support they need to leave homelessness behind
  • in November, the council opened a winter shelter open to anyone experiencing rough sleeping – whether or not they have a local connection or recourse to public funds
  • emergency beds for anyone who wants to come inside during severe winter weather. These open when the council activates its severe weather emergency protocol (SWEP) on a Met Office forecast of an overnight temperature of zero or below.

Other services

The council expects Floyds Row to be fully open in April 2020. At full capacity, it will provide assessment services and shelter for up to 56 people.

Somewhere Safe to Stay and the winterlong shelter will provide up to 20 and 16 beds respectively.

There will be another 20 “staging post” beds for people who have been assessed by Somewhere Safe to Stay and need more time to move on to other accommodation.

Services currently provided at the multi-agency hub in Bonn Square will also transfer to Floyds Row in April.

Oxford Homeless Movement

Oxford Homeless Movement is a partnership of the many organisations working to ensure that nobody has to sleep rough on the streets of Oxford. It is hoping to raise £150,000 for charities helping people rough sleeping and to deliver new services reducing homelessness.

Floyds Row is a beneficiary of this fundraising campaign.

Until Monday 6 January, Oxfordshire Community Foundation (OCF) is pledging to match any donation to Oxford Homeless Movement through a Christmas match fund.

OCF’s pledge to double the difference will apply to both one-off and repeat donations made during the Christmas period. When eligible for Gift Aid, a typical £30 donation will be worth £67.50 to beneficiaries of the Christmas match fund.

You can donate online to the Oxford Homeless Movement or by sending a cheque to Oxford Homeless Movement, PO Box 941, Oxford OX1 9TQ.

“We’ve already started transforming the way we deliver services for people experiencing homelessness in Oxfordshire by opening Somewhere Safe to Stay and the winterlong shelter. Floyds Row is at the heart of our transformation plans and I’m delighted that ODS have completed the first phase of construction.

”St Mungo’s will be running all services at Floyds Row on our behalf and they’re already starting the work needed to open next month. Somewhere Safe to Stay, the winter shelter and SWEP provision will all move from Simon House in the first half of January.

“We believe that nobody should have to sleep rough in Oxford and the best way to help someone experiencing rough sleeping is to get them to come inside and find the support they need to rebuild their lives. That means getting things right from the first conversation as this has a massive impact in helping people off the streets.

“At Floyds Row that first conversation will take place inside rather than in the cold on the street, and dedicated support services will be immediately on hand to help. St Mungo’s has experience of running similar services in London and the south of England and its expertise has seen up to four fifths of people leaving the streets behind for good.

“Floyds Row represents a fundamental change to front end homelessness services and winter accommodation in Oxford. We are working with our colleagues in Oxfordshire’s councils, St Mungo’s, Crisis, Homeless Oxfordshire, Turning Point, A2Dominion, Luther Street Medical Centre and other homelessness service providers to deliver this flagship project. Floyds Row will be a catalyst for change across the wider system.”

Councillor Linda Smith, deputy leader and cabinet member for leisure and housing

“We are proud to have finished and now to hand over the assessment hub at Floyd’s Row. The project presented us with many challenges including very tight schedules through pre-construction to delivery but we were able to accomplish this thanks to our close partnership working with Oxford City Council and our subcontractor supply chain.

“As a company, we align our values with the council’s and through our procurement process we ensure that our supply chain will, with us, maximise the social impact and environmental benefits of all our projects.

“We look forward to delivering phase two of the project which will see more accommodation, welfare and meeting space being created and seeing the building welcome its first guests.“

Ian Batchelor ACIOB, director of construction & building services, ODS