Twelve things to do to help the homeless

Published: Monday, 11th December 2017

Oxford City Council is urging people in Oxford to make a difference to those who are less fortunate and those who will not have a home this Christmas by supporting local organisations that work with homeless people and those who have experienced homelessness.

In response to rising levels of street homelessness across the country, the council hosted a well-attended ‘City Conversation’ on 28 November with a wide range of individuals and groups who have an interest in helping to find solutions to the increase in rough sleeping in Oxford. The meeting agreed a vision “To ensure that nobody has to sleep rough on the streets of Oxford”, as well as some core principles, and to work towards agreeing a Rough Sleeping Charter for Oxford by April 2018.

Oxford City Council works with partners in both the voluntary and statutory sectors to tackle homelessness and rough sleeping in the city. The council funds organisations that work to prevent people from becoming homeless, get people off the streets and into accommodation, support people to sustain their accommodation, and work to tackle the issues that led to the person becoming homeless in the first place.

Councillor Mike Rowley, Board Member for Housing, says: “We have come up with a list of twelve things you can do to support organisations that help rough sleepers and combat homelessness in the city. There are some very simple things that can be done to help but they will make a real difference to those who are sleeping rough. Please extend your helping hand this Christmas to those who will not have a home by offering your support and donations to any of the organisations that work with the homeless in our city.”

This is what you can do to help the homeless in Oxford this Christmas:

12 things you can do to help the homeless this Christmas



Donate money to the Oxford Homeless Medical Fund instead of giving money to people begging in Oxford

Raises funds to support welfare, educational and medical services for homeless people in Oxford. The funds’ primary beneficiary is Luther Street Medical Centre, a GP surgery in Oxford for rough sleepers and single homeless people.

The simplest way to support Oxford Poverty Action Trust is to make a donation.

All donations are distributed via agencies working with homeless and vulnerable people, for example those that provide shelter, food, day services, clothing advice and medical care to people in need.

If you are concerned for a rough sleeper please either contact StreetLink on 0300 5000914 and the Oxford Street Population Outreach Team (OXSPOT) will respond to this referral at the earliest opportunity.

St Mungo's operate our Street Population Outreach Team (SPOT), which is a consistent presence on the streets of Oxford. The team work early morning and late nights across the whole City, in order to make contact with rough sleepers, assist in finding suitable housing options and link in with support.

Buy The Big Issue from a vendor wearing a red tabard and a badge

The Big Issue represents a meaningful alternative to begging. Big Issue vendors buy the magazine for £1.25 and sell it to the public, for £2.50. This is a real opportunity to start to earn money and is a vital first step for a person as they begin their journey away from homelessness.

Have lunch at the Crisis Skylight Café

Great food and drinks in George Street, in the heart of Oxford. The café is a social enterprise that provides on-the-job training for people experiencing homelessness. While you are there, ask staff for opportunities for you to volunteer.

Donate warm winter clothes, sleeping bags and toiletries to O’Hanlon House.

O’Hanlon House is one of the homeless hostels in Oxford. O’Hanlon House, together with Oxford SPOT, also co-ordinates and provides emergency provision for rough sleepers in severe winter weather and your donations will help them continue to do this.   

Give your unwanted furniture to Emmaus Oxford, visit the store at Barns Road and buy quality second hand items

Emmaus Oxford store on Barns Road sells second hand goods and furniture at very good prices. The store is run by the companions of Emmaus Oxford. Emmaus tackles problems of homelessness by offering a home, a job, new skills and a sense of belonging.

Buy your Christmas gifts at the Shop at the Old Fire Station

Independent handcrafted good including jewellery, textiles, stationary and more. Money from purchases goes back into funding Arts at the Old Fire Station’s work with homelessness charity Crisis, offering training and volunteering opportunities. Open Tue – Sat 11am – 6pm.

Volunteer your time or donate funds and goods to The Porch Day Centre

The Porch is a day centre based in East Oxford, providing company, support, food, shower and laundry facilities to people who have experienced homelessness and those who are vulnerably housed. They promote a range of activities and you can help by volunteering: help in the kitchen, making preserves, working on allotments, helping with IT and office skills, and talking to and befriending members.

Contract Aspire to do work for your organisation or business

Offer work and training opportunities and training through own social enterprises to those who have experienced disadvantage and who may be facing complex barriers to employment. Services offered include grounds maintenance, recruitment, property services and removals.

Donate cash, food, clothes, or volunteer with Gatehouse

Gatehouse is a local charity that provides food, company and activities. Based in the city centre and open two hours six evenings per week.

Volunteer with Connection Support or donate cash by Texting CNFS15 £10 (£1 to £5 or £10) to 70070 and make a difference today.

Connection Support Provides a breadth of specialised support services to people facing complex life challenges, including ‘floating support’ and provision of supported accommodation for rough sleepers and single homeless people.

If you want to find out more information about rough sleeping and homelessness visit our Homelessness pages.