During the first lockdown, something unprecedented happened: people across the country were immediately brought in from the streets to protect them and the public from the threat of the pandemic. Could homelessness be solved overnight?
Sadly not. Rough sleeping is like the tip of a large homelessness iceberg and of course, temporary accommodation is not a home. Now, due to the economic fallout of lockdown, pressure is building again. But we can end homelessness if we are determined enough.
In Oxfordshire, proactive collaborations between councils and local charities have meant that no-one currently has to face being returned to the streets:
- In Oxford city alone, 241 people were accommodated as part of the Government’s ‘Everyone In’ mandate
- Interim accommodation and support is now in place so that people experiencing homelessness can receive the support that they need
- 93 people in Oxford have already been supported into more permanent housing.
But to ensure no one is left out, we need to fund lasting solutions.
Now is the time to build on this momentum.
OHM facilitates genuine and lasting collaboration between the many agencies working hard to tackle homelessness locally, bringing together all six councils, local businesses, the universities and around 70 Oxfordshire charities.
What is more, our projects fill the gaps that others can’t, such as supporting people who cannot access any government-funded services due to their country of origin; providing the finishing touches to accommodation that turns it into a real home; and ensuring that the voices of those with lived experience of homelessness are at the heart of local decision-making.
This work supports people like Sam, who is now housed in OHM partner Aspire’s Beckett Street project since being made homeless during coronavirus. He says “If you come together in supported living, as a family together, you can do something creative, build relationships and trust – it’s the best. I’m looking forward to turning my life around.”
Help us write the happy ending to this story.
It would be a tragedy for this story to end with an increase in homelessness and a return to rough sleeping. With your help, we can create a better ending, making the most of these opportunities, right now and over the long term. Your donation will help us continue to make a difference, and be there to show anyone experiencing homelessness that people do care, and there is a way out.
Between Tuesday 8 December and Friday 8 January, Oxfordshire Community Foundation (OCF) is pledging to match the first £20,000 of donations to Oxfordshire Homeless Movement.
OCF’s pledge to double the difference will apply to both one-off and repeat donations made during the Christmas period. When eligible for Gift Aid, a typical £30 donation will be worth £67.50.
What you can do to help
- Donate funds you would have spent on Christmas parties to our appeal and have them matched pound for pound by OCF
- Create online versions of events or fundraisers you might have done for a normal Christmas – carol singing, charity Christmas cards etc
- Give your time, or resources that are needed by people experiencing homelessness – find out what’s needed on our website
OCF will hold the funds and distribute the money raised as directed by OHM to fill those critical gaps that others can’t, such as:
- supporting people who cannot access any government-funded services due to their country of origin
- providing the finishing touches to accommodation that turns it into a real home
- ensuring that the voices of those with lived experience of homelessness are at the heart of local decision-making.
OHM Chair Jane Cranston says: “There are now people coming in who haven’t been inside for years, and who are recognising that they can accept support and help. They’ve been let down before by the system, but we don’t want to let them down again. So please help us not to waste this opportunity, provided by the rather unusual circumstances of the pandemic.”
OCF Chief Executive Adrian Sell says: “We are proud to support OHM for a third year running by accepting charitable donations on its behalf. We hope that we can build on the momentum of previous years, where nearly £240k was raised through Christmas campaigns and has been spent providing support to people experiencing homelessness, and in particular on creating move-on accommodation for people to help them find a long-term way out. We know that OHM can use your money wisely.”
You can donate online at www.oxfordshirehomelessmovement.org/donate or by sending a cheque to Oxfordshire Homeless Movement, PO Box 941, Oxford OX1 9TQ.
About Oxfordshire Homeless Movement
- Oxfordshire Homeless Movement is a partnership of the many organisations working to ensure that nobody has to sleep rough on the streets of Oxfordshire.
- It aims to bring greater visibility to all Oxfordshire’s work in this area, guiding volunteers, supporters and homeless people alike to the actions or services they’re looking for.
About Oxfordshire Community Foundation
- Oxfordshire Community Foundation (OCF) works to improve the lives of our county’s most disadvantaged people by unlocking the power of community. We tackle the most pressing social problems locally: homelessness, educational inequality, loneliness and isolation.
- OCF brings together charities, philanthropists, businesses and the public sector to research, design and implement long-term solutions. By working in collaboration, OCF brings the best ideas to life, leading to sustained and meaningful improvements to people’s lives.
- OCF makes around £1 million in grants every year to charities across Oxfordshire that are working at the grassroots level to tackle pressing problems faced by its citizens, including emergency response to crises such as COVID-19.