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Rough sleeping is dealt with by Cherwell's housing needs team and we welcome information about suspected rough sleepers.
We approach the issue as part of our prevention of homelessness plan under the housing strategy.
We monitor levels of rough sleeping through our partnerships with the police and voluntary agencies, such as the Beacon Centre in Banbury, that provide a service to homeless and vulnerable people. We are required to report levels of rough sleeping to central government; the figures range between 0 and 3 each quarter.
In Oxfordshire the county emergency hostels are based in Oxford City. There are over 200 beds that provide emergency placements for those who are in crisis. Beds are allocated through the No Second Night Out programme.
No second night out (NSNO)
NSNO began as a London based initiative, which is now being adopted by local authorities nationwide. There are 5 principles to NSNO
- new rough sleepers should be identified and helped off the streets immediately
- members of the public should be able to play a referring role, and a website, phone app and hotline number (0300 500 0914) have been developed for them to do so.
- rough sleepers should access a place of safety and assessment
- they should have access to emergency accommodation and other services such as healthcare
- there should be a reconnection to their local community unless there is a good reason not to do so.
Once received into a hostel through NSNO, people receive a "single service offer" which lets them know the services they can access to help with their needs.
Severe weather emergency provision (SWEP)
In periods of severe weather when the temperature is predicted to be below zero degrees for three consecutive nights, the Oxford hostels provide emergency beds for people who may not otherwise be eligible to access their hostels
Our duty service can be contacted in severe weather for a referral for SWEP or when the weather is so severe that Oxford cannot be accessed. The out of hours duty service can be contacted via the council, the police or social care out of hours services.