Help needed to tackle homelessness during crisis

Hotels, guest houses and landlords can offer support and help protect some of those most at risk during the coronavirus crisis, Cherwell District Council says.

Published: Tuesday, 14th April 2020

The council is endeavouring to put roofs over the heads of all those most at risk. At a time of high demand, Cherwell wants to hear from any establishments which could take emergency placements of people experiencing homelessness. The council is funding this emergency accommodation and will pay reasonable rates to establishments able to offer it. 

Those with complex requirements and a particular need to self-isolate are receiving priority attention. The council is also asking for the support of anyone with the power to prevent further homelessness: Government has called on landlords not to evict tenants during the Covid-19 emergency. Families are also asked not to make their relatives homeless. 

Cllr John Donaldson, Cherwell's lead member for housing, said: “In the past two weeks there has been a 60 per cent increase in the number of people we have placed in temporary accommodation. Hotels and guest houses who want to make a difference can now offer assistance at this time of national crisis and play their part. 

“The coronavirus crisis is bringing out the best in many: we have already had offers from two hotels and from landlords willing to house families. But we still need to house more single people, many of whom don’t have their own furniture.

“We need further support from the community. If asking someone to leave the family home, or a home you own would make them homeless, we urge you not to do so. If you could help us house someone already experiencing homelessness, please make yourself known to the council housing team.”

Anyone who is at risk of homelessness or concerned about their safety at home should seek advice as soon as possible. Those in the most urgent need are receiving priority attention from the council housing team at this time. 

Victims of domestic abuse are of particular concern. Our Oxfordshire Domestic Abuse Helpline is still open and available (Monday to Friday, 10am to 7pm) or email das@a2dominion.co.uk. Alternatively, people can call the 24-hour National Domestic Abuse Helpline on 0808 2000 247.

The housing team can be contacted at homelessreferrals@cherwell-dc.gov.uk and 01295 753751.