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Have your say on a new homelessness strategy for South Oxfordshire and the Vale of White Horse

South Oxfordshire and Vale of White Horse District Councils are asking people for their views on a new strategy to address homelessness and rough sleeping.

By law, local authorities are required to publish a homelessness and rough sleeping strategy every five years – the current South and Vale strategy ends in 2020 and the councils have now launched a six-week consultation on a new strategy which would last until 2025.

South and Vale have been very successful in helping people threatened with homelessness.  During 2018/19 their strong focus on prevention, early intervention and access to sustainable accommodation helped more than 1,000 households avoid homelessness.  Despite rising demand on the Housing Needs service, the number of those in temporary accommodation in South and Vale remains very low, in stark contrast to increasing numbers nationally.

When someone is at risk of being made homeless, it has a highly detrimental effect on individuals, families and communities.  It causes disruption and distress in the short-term and, if not resolved, has a negative impact on wellbeing and life opportunities.

To address this, the South and Vale draft Homelessness and Rough Sleeping Strategy 2020-2025, supported by a detailed action plan, has three aims:

  • To prevent homelessness wherever possible,
  • To end incidents of homelessness at the earliest opportunity
  • To end the need for rough sleeping

To read the full draft Homelessness and Rough Sleeping Strategy 2020-2025, and to let the councils know your thoughts and comments on their plans to tackle this issue, please visit https://survey.southandvale.gov.uk/s/Homelessness2019/ .  The consultation closes at 5pm on Monday 25 November 2019.

If you have any questions about this consultation or require it in an alternative format, please email haveyoursay@southandvale.gov.uk or call 01235 422425.

Cllr David Rouane, Cabinet Member for Housing and Environment at South Oxfordshire District Council, said: “In southern Oxfordshire we have been very successful in addressing the issue of homelessness and rough sleeping.  However, it’s important that we have a strategy in place that ensures that we continue to offer a service which puts the needs of those at risk first.”

Cllr Jenny Hannaby, Cabinet Member for Housing and Environment at Vale of White Horse District Council, said: “Our strategy and action plan will make a genuine difference to people’s lives, so we are particularly keen to hear from those who have experienced homelessness, those who have been at risk and received help, and those who have worked with or are connected to people who have been at risk of homelessness.”

The draft Homelessness and Rough Sleeping Strategy 2020-2025 has been developed following a review of homelessness services, including a series of stakeholder engagement exercises.

Once the survey has closed, a consultation summary report will be presented to the councils’ cabinets; this is expected to happen in January 2020. Subject to approval, the updated strategy will then be published on the councils’ websites.  The strategy will come into effect form the publication date and will be reviewed annually.

To find out more about the services available to assist those at risk of homelessness in South Oxfordshire or the Vale of White Horse please visit southoxon.gov.uk/homelessness or whitehorsedc.gov.uk/homelessness.

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