Consultation on draft housing, homelessness and rough sleeping strategy set to open

New OX Place homes at Lucy Faithfull House site Published: Thursday, 13th October 2022

Oxford City Council is set to launch public consultation on a five-year plan to tackle the city’s housing and homelessness crisis.

Next week, cabinet is expected to approve consultation on the council’s draft housing, homelessness and rough sleeping strategy 2023-2028. This sets out the council’s intentions to provide more affordable and low carbon homes, improve conditions for renters in all tenures and do more to prevent homelessness and rough sleeping.

As the housing authority for Oxford, the council is legally required to have a homelessness strategy and a strategy on rough sleeping. While there is no legal need for a housing strategy, there is a strong correlation between housing, homelessness and rough sleeping.

Last year the council undertook a review of housing and homelessness which produced an evidence base, a draft vision and five emerging priorities. These were the subject of an initial round of public consultation last summer.

Vision and priorities

The council’s vision for the new combined strategy is:

‘By 2028, addressing Oxford’s need for more affordable housing, improving the standard of housing in the city while lowering its carbon impact, with services and partnerships that are focussed on preventing people losing their homes, rapidly rehouse those who become homeless, and ending the need to sleep rough.’

The five priority areas flowing from this vision are:

  • providing more, affordable homes
  • great homes for all
  • housing for a net zero carbon future
  • preventing homelessness and adopting a rapid rehousing response
  • ending rough sleeping

The end of pandemic support measures and a rapidly unfolding cost of living crisis are likely to increase demand for council services in what is already a challenging financial climate. Continued service transformation and partnership working will be paramount in helping the council rise to these challenges and deliver solutions to its five priorities.

In order to build more, affordable homes the council will deliver the biggest council house building programme since the 1970s. Its housing company OX Place aims build more than 2,000 new homes for rent and sale in and around Oxford over the coming decade. These will include more than 1,100 council homes let at genuinely affordable social rent. The council will also work with housing associations and neighbouring councils to ensure that more affordable housing is built in and around Oxford in the next 10 years.

Great homes for all means that council tenants will have more say in the way their homes and communities are managed and that services will use the experience of supporting Oxford residents during the pandemic to become more locally focused. The council is also investing £51m on maintenance, refurbishments and improvements to estates in the next four years. Adoption of a citywide selective licensing scheme in September means Oxford is the only council in England requiring a licence for all private rented homes and its licensing schemes will improve conditions for private rented tenants.

OX Place’s new homes will be a key part of delivering housing for a net zero carbon future, Standards for new developments will go beyond government targets, with OX Place aiming for zero carbon by the end of the decade. The council will invest £8.7m to improve energy efficiency in council homes and will also work to improve energy ratings for privately rented and owner occupied homes.

The council will put preventing homelessness and adopting a rapid rehousing response at the heart of its services. Early, joined-up intervention will sustain tenancies and prevent people from becoming homeless. Where this is unavoidable, people will be helped into a stable, suitable home as quickly as possible.

Ending rough sleeping is also a national priority and the council aims to ensure that nobody should have to sleep rough in Oxford. A new £3.8m ‘housing led’ service tackling homelessness across Oxfordshire was launched in April. The Oxfordshire Homelessness Alliance’s default model for preventing and reducing rough sleeping is to provide settled homes as a first step in the road away from life on the streets.

Take part

Consultation will open on the council’s consultation portal on Wednesday 26 October and close at midnight on Wednesday 7 December.

People who are unable to complete online consultation should phone 01865 252173 or email

As part of the consultation process, the council will also engage with key stakeholders to seek their views on the proposed strategy.

The council will analyse consultation responses and update the evidence base and strategy ahead of implementation in 2023.


“The rapidly rising cost of living means we need to find joined up answers to tackle Oxford’s housing crisis in what is already a challenging financial climate for the council. Our draft strategy will help us work more effectively towards meeting these challenges.

“We’re building a new generation of low carbon council homes that will help us meet our target of net zero carbon by 2040, improving conditions for renters in all tenures, and doing more than ever before to prevent and reduce homelessness and rough sleeping. 

“These are all vitally important if we are to tackle Oxford’s housing and homelessness crisis. Everybody has a part to play in helping us do this. People can be cynical about the value of council consultations but your view really does matter – please have your say. Whatever your housing situation in Oxford we'd like to hear from you.”

Councillor Linda Smith, cabinet member for housing