Oxford City Council releases latest rough sleeper street count

first_imgBreaking down the numbers,the Council said that 9 of thesleepers were female, whilst 37(79%) were male. The council counted 43 peoplesleeping rough on the streets ofOxford on one night in the month,representing a 16% decrease fromSeptember and a 4% decreasefrom the 45 people counted inNovember 2018. There was one person who wasnewly verified by the outreachteam (OxSPOT) as sleeping roughfor less than six months, yet 9 al-together were counted as havingbeen on the streets for less thanhalf a year. Oxford City Council has releasedits latest rough sleeper streetcount for the month of November2019. The street count found that thetwo most common support needsfor those sleeping rough werealcohol issues and mental healthneeds, with 18 people identifyingwith each of these. The count found that nearly half of those sleeping rough had four overlapping and complex needs. Commenting on the November street count results, Councillor Linda Smith said: “the key to helping people off the streets is effective engagement and this begins with the first conversation with someone experiencing rough sleeping.” Meanwhile, 14 people sleeping on the streets had returned to them after being previously accommodated, the same proportion as those in September, whereas two rough sleepers who had accommodation in Oxford chose to sleep out on the night. Smith, who is an Oxford City Council cabinet member for leisure and housing, added that “We anticipate that the opening of Floyds Row in January will help us to sustain this reduction in the number of people experiencing rough sleeping in Oxford.” Caution should be taken withthe numbers released, as theCouncil warned, noting that streetcounts cannot capture commonscenarios of rough sleeping suchas people sleeping in stairwellsand sites not visited or accessibleto street counters. Whilst the number of those people sleeping rough who had local connections with the city and the Oxfordshire area increased between the two months, the number of those from elsewhere in the UK and from the EU had fallen. Although street counts cannot give a complete picture of homelessness in Oxford, the Council uses the measurement to guide its trends of the number of rough sleepers over time. This represents an increase of3,600 on 2018 and 23,000 since2017. Furthermore, 27 people (61%) had been sleeping rough for more than six months, whilst the number of those homeless in Oxford for over a year has increased from 21 in September to 26 in Novem- ber. A county-wide estimate ofrough sleeper numbers has beencompiled by Oxford City Counciland other district councils. According to the homelessness and housing charity Shelter, an estimated 280,000 people were sleeping rough or living in temporary housing in England at the end of 2019. This will be released on 28th February to coincide with England-wide statistics collected by the Ministry of Housing, Communities and Local Government. last_img

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