Petition - Help re-open Lucy Faithfull House Homeless accommodation
Decision Maker: Council
Decision status: Recommendations Approved
Is Key decision?: No
Is subject to call in?: No
Council considered a petition meeting the criteria for debate under the Council’s petitions scheme in line with the procedure for large petitions.
Council heard an address from Neo, the head petitioner. He spoke about the problems of the (by his estimate) nearly 130 homeless people in the city who needed a home and a safe place to go. Lucy Faithfull House would get people off the streets. Half of the people housed by the Iffley Open House project were in work but had no home - if they stayed on the streets they would lose their jobs. More and more people were forced out of their homes. He had seen at least 20 new people on the city streets coming here from across the county. These were massive failures by government. To solve the issues there needed to be collective responsibility: everyone needed to work together. There was a desperate need for the facilities Lucy Faithfull House could provide.
Council considered two motions submitted in response to the petition, circulated before the meeting.
Councillor Rowley proposed his motion, seconded by Councillor Turner.
Councillor Thomas proposed his motion, seconded by Councillor Gant.
After debate and on being put to the vote:
· Councillor Rowley’s motion was declared carried
· Councillor Thomas’ motion was declared lost.
Council resolved to approve the following motion in response to the petition, as proposed by Cllr Rowley:
Council notes the petition, and welcomes the support from the signatories for sustainable solutions to single-person homelessness in Oxford.
As elsewhere in the country, the rise in single-person homelessness is as a consequence of the government’s attack on Social Security, its cuts in mental health provision, and its failure to increase the number of affordable and social homes over the last seven years in government.
In noting the petition, Council also observes that re-use of Lucy Faithfull House would not be a sensible proposition, because no need has been demonstrated. All of the LFH beds have been replaced by beds in Oxford with support provided, and existing homelessness provision is not over-occupied. Council also noted, in rejecting the Budget amendment referred to, that there is no way to make LFH sustainable beyond the lifetime of the Budget.
Council notes that its current approach to homelessness funding has allowed us to shield vital services affected by County Council cuts and maintain funding for services across the City.
Council also notes that it is untrue that "luxury" accommodation is intended to be built on the Lucy Faithfull House site. The site has potential to contribute to the Council's affordable housing strategy, although this will require an agreement with the leaseholder.
Report author: Jennifer Thompson
Publication date: 23/05/2017
Date of decision: 24/04/2017
Decided at meeting: 24/04/2017 - Council