New strategy to tackle homelessness in the Banbury area has been launched

Local councils are working together on a programme which what said is the first of its kind in the UK

By News Reporter
Friday, 19th February 2021, 11:33 am
Updated Friday, 19th February 2021, 11:34 am

A new strategy to tackle homelessness in the Banbury area has been launched.

Cherwell District Council (CDC) has united with the other four district councils in the county, as well as Oxfordshire County Council and Oxford City Council, to sign a new partnership with the homelessness charity Crisis.

They have described the new programme as 'housing-led' - and said it is the first of its kind in the UK.

A new strategy to tackle homelessness in the Banbury area has been launched.

A spokesperson for CDC said: "Housing-led means getting people who are homeless into their own homes as quickly as possible and giving them the support they need to make maintaining a tenancy work.

"It aims to minimise both the time people spend in temporary accommodation and the number of moves they have to make before getting their permanent home.

"With significantly more focus on preventing people being made homeless, it will require improved system-wide governance of homelessness services across Oxfordshire and service providers working collaboratively to achieve results."

The councils hope that the partnership will help them share data more efficiently.

The spokesperson added: "Oxfordshire benefits from a diverse range of homelessness services and to ensure no one ‘drops off the radar’, as their support moves between agencies, a centrally held ‘By Name’ list will be created.

"As well as improving continuity, it will reduce the need for people to explain their background multiple times, thereby reducing the impact of trauma and helping each person feel valued as an individual."

A housing-led approach has had significant success in reducing homelessness internationally, with Finland in particular leading the way in tackling homelessness. In the UK this is the first time it has been adopted by a county council.

Jon Sparkes, chief executive of Crisis, said: “We are hugely encouraged by the commitment shown across Oxfordshire in preventing and ending homelessness.

"This is not a quick fix but instead a bold, long-term strategy developed with the help of people in Oxfordshire who have experienced the trauma of homelessness and those who have worked tirelessly to tackle it.

"We hope the ambition and collaboration between organisations will be recognised beyond Oxfordshire and show that homelessness is not inevitable.”

Paul Leo, director of housing for Oxford City Council and chair of the Oxfordshire Strategic Homelessness Steering Group, said: “We welcome the publication of this study, which will be instrumental in helping us to achieve our ambition of preventing homelessness across Oxfordshire and I am delighted that all of the Oxfordshire councils have committed to work together to implement its recommendations.

"Collaboration across the county between councils, homelessness organisations, health and housing providers will be needed to ensure we can make positive long term change towards a Housing Led system that prevents and ends homelessness across Oxfordshire.”