The City Council will continue to maintain its support for services that work to prevent homelessness as well as assisting people off the streets and into accommodation.
A new budget allocation of about £1.4 million was agreed by the Council’s cabinet on 9 March 2017 to maintain funding at the same level for the majority of currently funded organisations. In addition to the pooled budget contribution of £323,400 taken from the 2016/17 funds, the Council will this year spend a total of £1.7 million on homelessness prevention.
A significant amount has been allocated to commission accommodation for rough sleepers and single homeless to preserve some level of provision following Oxfordshire County Council’s cut to housing related support.
Together with savings and unallocated funds from 2016/17 the funding will allow the Council to:
- honour commitment to the pooled budget arrangements that will fund supported accommodation for homeless people for 3 years from 1 April 2017
- fund supported accommodation for city use, in addition to that funded by contribution to the pooled budget, and
- maintain funding for services across the city
These allocations show the continued strong commitment by the Council to preserve and enhance services for homeless people in the city in very difficult times.
Councillor Mike Rowley, Board Member for Housing, said: “We are happy that we are able to continue to support homeless organisations this coming year. From 1 April onwards, we are seeing unprecedented change due to County Council cuts which will result in the de-commissioning of accommodation services for rough sleepers.
“We are very keen to work with our District and County Council partners to make the best of the pooled budget arrangements and the provision this buys. However, it is vital for the city to have enough beds for the city’s rough sleepers and we are therefore investing up to £150,000 extra funds in supported accommodation to fill some of the gap due to the cuts. Our careful management of resources has enabled us to invest this money now when and where it counts.
“We are determined to provide as much stability for service providers as possible this year, and we have therefore decided to maintain funding at the same level for almost all the organisations we support. These are very difficult times for the sector, and we will continue to work with all our partners to determine how to keep the best possible combination of services for the uncertain years ahead."