Oxford Churches Offer Shelter To The Homeless

3 January 2019, 16:44 | Updated: 3 January 2019, 16:48


Twelve churches in Oxford are offering shelter for the homeless between January and March.

On top of the emergency provision and the existing bed places provided by the City Council across the city, a group of Oxford churches will open 20 beds from tonight (3 January) until the end of March, collectively known as the Oxford Winter Night Shelter (OWNS). 

This is double the number of bed spaces offered by the churches last year. The City Council’s commissioned outreach service OxSPOT is facilitating the assessment and referral of clients whose needs can safely be met by this service.

Councillor Linda Smith, Deputy Leader of Oxford City Council and Board Member for Leisure and Housing, said: 

“With the weather turning sharply colder over the next few days we are activating the emergency accommodation arrangements for rough sleepers regardless of their eligibility for the homeless pathway. SWEP is run by our dedicated team of partners and their staff and I’d like to thank everyone involved for their efforts over the next few days.

“Oxford City Council is doing more than ever before to help realise our ambition that nobody should have to sleep rough in Oxford. We’re providing up to 215 beds for Oxford rough sleepers this winter. SWEP is on top of that.”

“If you are concerned about a person who maybe sleeping rough, you can contact OxSPOT on 01865 243229 to make a referral, or report them on the national StreetLink website or app. OxSPOT is not an emergency service, but it will follow up all calls as quickly as possible. If you think there is immediate danger to the health of a rough sleeper, please call 999 instead.”

The Council is providing up to 215 beds for Oxford rough sleepers this winter, including 41 new spaces funded by the government’s temporary Rough Sleeper Initiative (RSI). The Council has won up to £1,014,000 in RSI funding to provide extra beds and services this winter and next.