Published: Tuesday, 25 August 2020

Oxford City Council has now helped all the former rough sleepers given emergency accommodation during the pandemic into more settled interim housing.

A total of 94 people are now living in interim housing at the YHA and in Canterbury House, with 57 of these moved from hotel and student rooms in the last fortnight.

The council has secured 124 rooms of interim housing for the next year. Canterbury House and the YHA provide 76 and 42 rooms of self-contained accommodation respectively. A further six rooms are available in a block already leased from University College for people displaying symptoms of coronavirus – so far, this has not been needed.

Interim housing is a bridge between emergency housing and more sustainable housing. Moving people from the former patchwork of hotel and student rooms into two main locations will make it easier to provide the intensive personal support that helps more people off the streets for good.

A total of 225 people have been housed in hotel and student rooms in Oxford since the government issued an ‘everyone in’ direction on 26 March. Of these, 84 have been supported into more permanent housing and this includes a number of people who had been sleeping rough on a long term basis.

Interim housing will also allow the council to provide accommodation and support for people who become homeless over the coming months. This will include winter beds that were provided in shared spaces before the pandemic.

The city’s outreach team, run by St Mungo’s, will continue to support and work with people who have continued to sleep rough during the pandemic with ongoing offers of accommodation and help.

St Mungo’s is also managing the interim housing as well as providing outreach, assessment and support services for the council.

“Lockdown gave us a unique opportunity to engage with people in emergency accommodation and interim housing will now provide a bridge to more sustainable housing. Nobody should have to sleep rough in Oxford and interim housing means we’ll also be able to keep offering housing and support to people who become homeless over the coming months.”

Councillor Mike Rowley, Cabinet Member for Affordable Housing and Housing the Homeless

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