Statement from Oxford City Council in response to Homes4All-Lush announcement on housing homeless people in the former Lush shop on Cornmarket Street:
Councillor Mike Rowley, Board Member for Housing, said: “Oxford City Council, in conjunction with St Mungo’s, Homeless Oxfordshire and The Porch has opened emergency accommodation over the past four nights during the cold weather for all rough sleepers, whether or not they have a local connection. All those who have wanted accommodation have been helped with no one turned away and spare capacity; and the provision remains open. From January, churches in Oxford will be operating an emergency night shelter with OxSpot, our Outreach Team, making referrals to the scheme and providing support to help people access suitable longer term accommodation. It may be that this latest initiative could become part of the ‘rolling provision’. Crucially, both the Council and church accommodation include the provision of support services that are essential in helping the majority of rough sleepers, such as those dealing with substance abuse and mental health issues. Along with safeguarding, these are necessary components of any new winter shelter provision being brought forward.
“Two weeks ago, the Council hosted a City Conversation on rough sleeping, which brought together councillors of all parties, the churches, universities, businesses and all of the key organisations focused on tackling homelessness in the city. A commitment was agreed to continue to work together towards removing the need for anyone to sleep rough in Oxford. We remain committed to working with partners to achieving this objective. Today we are announcing plans to increase the Council’s budget to tackle homelessness from £1.4m to £1.6m in 2019/20.”