Decision Maker: Council
Decision status: Recommendations Approved
Is Key decision?: No
Is subject to call in?: No
Councillor Gant, seconded by Councillor Landell Mills, proposed the submitted motion as set out in the agenda and briefing note.
Councillor Smith, seconded by Councillor Henwood proposed the submitted amendment as set out in the briefing note.
After debate and on being put to the vote, the amendment was declared carried.
After debate and on being put to the vote, the amended motion was agreed.
Council resolved to adopt the following motion, as amended:
· 61 people are sleeping rough in Oxford, a figure that is thought to be just the lowest estimate, with real numbers likely to be closer to three figures. This is an 85% increase from 2016-17, compared to a 15% rise nationally and 24% rise in the South East of England.
· The City Council punches above its weight when it comes to homelessness services, we work with Oxford’s homeless charities to fund a wide range of support services and accommodation, this year our budget increased to £1.8million. we also committed £1.5million to keep Simon House hostel open in the face of closure and build a brand new facility for rough sleepers with complex needs in Cowley.
· The extra £790k funding made available to Oxford through the Government’s Trailblazer initiative which is helping prevent homelessness through targeted outreach work provided by Connection and Aspire including housing advice workers embedded in local hospitals, and working with social services and probation service.
· The successful bid by the council to MHCLG for £503k to alleviate rough sleeping this winter which will be used to provide an additional 64 beds, expand the Street Population Outreach team and create a multi-agency service hub for rough sleepers in the city centre.
· Those who are sleeping rough should be identified as quickly as possible, so as to be helped until they are no longer homeless. The St Mungo’s Outreach team funded by the council and set to expand do this crucial work well.
· Emergency accommodation can never be the long-term answer, which is why this council prioritises the building of genuinely affordable homes available for social rent.
· Stable, long-term homeless accommodation is necessary if we’re to fix Oxford’s homeless issues. That is why this council allocated £15million to buy homes for otherwise homeless Oxford families, and added a further £5million to the ‘Real Lettings’ fund in this year’s budget.
· More can be done to tackle Oxford’s homelessness crisis on a local level, despite setbacks relating to national government funding cuts.
· The absence of stable, long-term accommodation can have hugely adverse impacts on both mental and physical health, pushing many people toward substance addiction and crime.
· Tackling homelessness is best done by preventing it from happening in the first place. That is why this council operates the ‘Home Choice’ Rent Guarantee scheme. This tops up private sector rents above LHA rates and our pilot scheme now works with tenants to increase their household income. We also administer Discretionary Housing Payments. Alongside our partners the council prevented 1107 households becoming homeless in 2016/17.
· To continue to explore flexible options to accommodate and/or support homeless rough sleepers, including those who have no local connection with city or anywhere else and no recourse to public funds. We will do this in conjunction with our partners in the charitable, voluntary and social enterprise sectors, including through our work with the City Conversation Partnership which we resource.
· To continue our investment in the ‘Real lettings’ property fund, which purchases properties for use as temporary accommodation for local families who would otherwise be homeless, with support for tenants provided by St Mungos. This ensures there is a clear link between stable housing for homeless people and relevant support services, so they can have access to long-term, high quality support for as long as they need.
· Where possible, use the existing local charities and social enterprises to provide relevant services.
· To work with local charities to ensure mental and physical health and substance misuse support, pre-tenancy training and employment assistance is accessible to all those who fall into homelessness.
· To explore further options that will prevent homelessness in the first place, building on our Home Choice scheme which makes the private sector more accessible for many Oxford residents.
Publication date: 20/08/2018
Date of decision: 23/07/2018
Decided at meeting: 23/07/2018 - Council