TWO of the county’s biggest homeless providers are facing closure after their funding was slashed.
More than 200 beds for the homeless will go when Simon House Hostel in Oxford and Julian Housing – based in Oxford and Abingdon – are ‘decommissioned’ by April 2018, Oxfordshire County Council announced yesterday.
It comes after Government cuts of £1.5m for homeless support, which the county and district councils say will mean the loss of nearly 150 beds across the county overall by 2018/19.
Julian Housing, run by Oxford Homeless Pathways, manages about 150 beds including Edith Kempson House in Littlemore, while Simon House in Paradise Street has room for 52 people.
Simon House will be decommissioned over 12 months, while Julian Housing will see its beds dispersed across Oxford City after a six month period.
Yesterday, the county council and all five districts signed a joint agreement which they say provides a ‘realistic solution despite difficult circumstances’.
The package of measures to help homeless people over three years is worth £2.94m, but by 2019 it will only be enough to pay for 141 beds – down from 286.
Oxford City Council deputy leader Ed Turner said the local authority would do its best to keep supporting homeless people.
He said: “We are not planning to reduce funding, unlike the county council. We are deeply disappointed that the county has reduced its funding but we are trying to make the best of a bad situation.
“We are deeply concerned by the number of rough sleepers in the city.”