Homelessness in Oxford
Decision Maker: Council
Decision status: For Determination
Is Key decision?: No
Is subject to call in?: No
Councillor Linda Smith, seconded by Councillor Aziz, proposed the submitted motion as set out in the agenda and briefing note.
After debate and on being put to the vote the motion was agreed.
Council resolved to adopt the following motion:
The Government's ideological pursuit of austerity has directly contributed to the soaring number of people being made homeless and sleeping rough on our streets. Despite this, Oxford City Council has an ambition that no one should have to sleep rough on the streets of our city and we have allocated our own budgets and successfully bid for government money to help achieve this.
This winter the council is providing an additional 41 bed spaces to help people off Oxford's streets. This is in addition to the 20 beds provided by the Oxford Winter Night Shelter throughout January, February and March and up to 20 extra night shelter beds which we are working with our neighbouring districts to provide through funding secured by this council.
This extra winter provision comes on top of the 167 beds and associated support for former rough sleepers which are funded throughout the year, and up to 74 bed spaces are available to anyone who needs them this winter, regardless of their connection to Oxford or their entitlement to benefits.
This council also operates a Severe Weather Emergency Protocol (SWEP) which opens extra beds during periods when extended cold weather is forecast, the protocol means emergency shelters are opened when night time temperatures are forecast to drop below freezing for three consecutive nights, but there is flexibility on the decision of when to open.
This council gives thanks for the hard work of our partner organisations, charities, voluntary organisations, professional workers and volunteers. We are especially grateful to the churches hosting the Oxford Winter Night Shelter for their enormous contribution to reducing rough sleeping on our streets.
This Council therefore resolves to ask the Board Member, Leisure and Housing:
1. To continue to work towards our vision of nobody having to sleep rough on the streets on Oxford. The extra beds this winter will help us move towards that goal, and council officers should use the discretion given to them on when to trigger SWEP to help ensure that no one is left out in freezing temperatures whenever resources allow.
2. To work with partners towards a SWEP protocol, that will open emergency provision whenever night time temperatures are forecast to fall below zero.
3. To ensure that preparations for next winter 2019/20 should include an increase in night shelter beds which are available to all rough sleepers throughout the season, moving away from the need for SWEP and adopting a model of continuous winter provision.
4. To ensure that the City Executive Board monitors the application of SWEP this winter, and receive reports, from the Head of Housing Services, in January and April 2019 to cover: the occasions when SWEP has been triggered; the use of officer discretion on when to trigger SWEP; and statistics on the availability of bed spaces for adult single homeless persons within the city for the period covered by the report.
Publication date: 03/12/2018
Date of decision: 26/11/2018
Decided at meeting: 26/11/2018 - Council