Every Christmas St. Mary’s supports a charity for the homeless in Oxford through donations at the Christmas carol service. This year we have chosen Homeless Oxfordshire.
The UK is experiencing a particularly acute homelessness crisis at present. In Oxford, the number of rough sleepers has increased by 400% since 2012 and there are more people sleeping rough in our city than in most of the UK, apart from Central London. The average life expectancy of rough sleepers is 42 years.
The aim of Homeless Oxfordshire is to support and guide homeless people along a pathway to a fulfilling future. Each year, they support about 550 homeless people.
Open around the clock, O’Hanlon House is a 56-bed hostel offering safety, warmth, and specialist support. All clients are allocated a keyworker who will help them create their own support plan and link them with relevant professionals. Regardless of their struggle, whether with drugs, alcohol, mental health, Homeless Oxfordshire provides an expert to listen and advise.
Homeless Oxfordshire has its own Benefits Advisor who assists with budgeting, Universal Credit, and debt issues, so clients can learn to manage their money well during their stay and when they become more independent. The hostel offers regular events and activities to help clients to stay positive and enjoy themselves.
Homeless Oxfordshire also supports the work of the nearby Luther Street Medical Centre, which delivers high quality healthcare to the homeless, whether or not they are registered with a doctor.
In addition, Homeless Oxfordshire runs 24 move-on properties across Oxford and Abingdon, which can accommodate up to 144 people, who are ready to take the next step towards a positive change in their lives, officially for up to two years, although in practice this is often longer. Through the provision of a range of different types of accommodation, clients learn how to manage a tenancy, have improved self-esteem, a more positive self-identity and gain the skills that will enable them to move on, live and succeed with greater independence.
Throughout the pandemic O’ Hanlon House has kept going, supporting 200 each night, while following Government safety guidelines to ensure the safety of clients. This has been especially difficult for clients who already had complex issues before Covid-19. An additional £15,000 was spent on PPE during the first wave. The second wave may bring more clients in the wake of job losses.
Your donation would help Homeless Oxfordshire to carry on, providing stable, and safe accommodation, and individual support. It would enable Homeless Oxfordshire to provide necessary items, such as shower gel and cleaning products, and to provide ways for people to stay connected at a time when we can all understand what it’s like to feel isolated.
You can donate here by clicking on this link to access the Christmas Appeal donations page. We would encourage you to gift aid your donation, as this will increase it by 25%. A box for this appears after you have stated your donation amount.
Let’s make this a special Christmas!