A new survey conducted by Green Party volunteers on Saturday 10th March interviewed a sample of 20 rough sleepers in central Oxford and found that 15 claimed to have been on Oxford’s streets for two years or more.
Says Green Cllr and homelessness campaigner David Thomas, who oversaw the survey, “This is far worse than we expected and is truly shocking. It is a human tragedy unfolding on our streets. The Council’s system is broken.”
Cllrs David Thomas (2nd right) & Dick Wolff outside a boarded up City owned homeless shelter Lucy Faithful House with former Lord Mayor Elise Benjamin & Caroline Lucas MP
The survey was conducted on the understanding that responses would be anonymous but many respondees volunteered the reasons why they were still on the streets. This was often for trivial administrative reasons; for example, Council letters sent to holding addresses going unanswered.
Added Cllr Thomas, "The council needs to urgently review why men and women can sleep rough for years in Oxford without ever getting any nearer to being entitled for help. I've spoken to individuals who have been so worn down by the bureaucracy they have utterly given up hope and have told me they expect to die on the streets."