Bold new approach to tackle homelessness in Oxfordshire together

Housing associations, charities and local authorities in Oxfordshire have come together to embark on a ground-breaking programme to help tackle homelessness in the county.

Oxfordshire County Council has helped to form the Oxfordshire Homeless Alliance, commissioning partners to improve homeless services by taking a collaborative approach to support those experiencing and at risk of homelessness.

Councillor Tim Bearder, Oxfordshire County Council’s Cabinet Member for Adult Social Care, said: “Homelessness is a complex issue and needs a truly joined up approach if we are going to make a difference. It is only by working with partners that we can help vulnerable people off the streets and into a place of safety and support.”

The alliance providers include housing specialists Aspire and A2Dominion as well as dedicated homeless organisations Connection Support, Elmore Community Services, Homeless Oxfordshire and St Mungo's.

The providers will work with the county, city and district councils, as well as people who have previously been homeless, to jointly design a new partnership sharing expertise in understanding homelessness and delivering quality, best value services for vulnerable adults.

Cllr Bearder continued: “Homelessness isn’t just about housing. The roots can often include childhood neglect, trauma and mental health concerns. By working with our partners who have strengths in different fields, we can start to break the homeless cycle and make a difference to people’s lives.”

This new approach has already succeeded in bringing new training to the county with Oxfordshire Homeless Alliance being accepted onto the Making Every Adult Matter (MEAM) network. This nationally recognised programme helps local areas design and deliver better coordinated services for people experiencing multiple disadvantage.

The alliance has also helped to develop a new social media campaign to mark World Homeless Day on Monday 10 October, which this year falls on the same date as World Mental Health Day.

Oxfordshire Homeless Alliance and Oxfordshire Homeless Movement have contributed to the ‘Get Oxfordshire Talking’ campaign, providing an opportunity for people to start a conversation about how they are working to change the lives of people experiencing homelessness in their local communities, and share information about how mental health difficulties and homelessness are intertwined.

Cllr Tim Bearder and Cllr Mark Lygo, Oxfordshire County Council’s Cabinet Member for Public Health and Equalities, are both taking part in the Oxford CEO Sleepout at Christchurch Meadows on Monday 17 October to raise awareness of homelessness in the county.

Click Sign up to hear from us and receive the latest news and updates thanks to our fortnightly newsletter, Your Oxfordshire.