The shelter, which can provide winter-long accommodation for up to thirteen people, is part of the council’s new approach to tackling rough sleeping and homelessness. It is operating on an interim basis in Simon House while the council completes the conversion of 1 Floyds Row into a new centre and shelter for up to 56 people.
The council’s new approach began last month with the opening of a “Somewhere Safe to Stay” service for newly homeless people and those at risk of sleeping rough. Both the winter shelter and “Somewhere Safe to Stay” will transfer to Floyds Row when the first phase of the conversion is completed in January.
Rough sleepers can utilise the shelter whether or not they have a local connection or access to public funds, with access granted through the assessment and outreach team, OxSPOT.
Oxford City Councillor Linda Smith, deputy leader and cabinet member for leisure and housing, said: “We believe that nobody should have to sleep rough in Oxford and that’s why we made a commitment to provide more winter-long shelter to anyone experiencing homelessness – wherever they’re from, whatever the weather. I’m really pleased to be able to announce that we’ve opened the winter shelter.
“Providing accommodation all winter will make it easier for us to help people off the streets for good. It will provide stability and the certainty that they have a bed for the night, every night. While we expect that we will still need to activate emergency beds during freezing weather, the winter shelter is an important part of our plans to transform homelessness services in Oxford.”
image credit: Jun