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Oxford failing on targets

July 07 2011
Councillor predicts greater pressure on housing as numbers are expected to rise further

 

An increasing number of people, as seen across the UK (see ‘Rise in homelessness recorded’), are sleeping rough in Oxford, city council chiefs have warned.

With a 23 per cent rise in the number of homeless households, Oxford City Council has failed to meet two key targets.

The city now has an average of 16 people sleeping rough every night, far more than the Labour council’s target of six. At the same time, 123 households were registered as homeless - 23 more than its published target of 100 and an increase from the previous year’s figure of 104.

Joe McManners, executive member of housing, said: “The street count is only a tip of the iceberg when it comes to housing needs.

“I would not want to predict a crisis, but I would say it looks pretty likely that we will see higher pressure on housing and the impacts on the ‘hidden homeless’ are likely to more pronounced.”

He added that although the council was trying to protect budgets for housing advice and the homeless, it was struggling against government cuts.

“The long-standing problem of housing needs in Oxford look like getting worse rather than better,” warned McManners.

Oxford Homeless Pathways, a charity operating in the city, also said it expected to see an increase in numbers over the next eight or nine months.

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