Iffley Open House calls out to the public for alternative accommodation as the group receives notice from Wadham College to leave by 27th February.
Iffley Open House is saddened by the news that they will have to relocate from the old VW garage, which they have been running as a homeless shelter since New Year's Eve.
Last month the group negotiated a Licence with the Leaseholders, Mid-Counties Co-operative, to stay until the 10th April. This week however, Wadham confirmed they have ended the Co-op's lease early and intend to take legal possession of the building at the end of February in order to move forward with plans to redevelop the site.
Since opening its doors Iffley Open House has been busy creating a temporary home and building a supportive community for its 20 residents. The group has been in correspondence with owners Wadham College and leaseholders Midcounties Co-op throughout their stay. They set a precedent by negotiating a licence with the Co-op and have been maintaining positive relations by allowing regular inspections of the site and complying with health and safety practices. Wadham have said they intend to release a joint statement with Iffley Open House shortly.
Over the last six weeks Iffley Open House has provided a safe, secure home for its residents through sub-zero temperatures, torrential rain, sleet and snow. Since opening its doors it has already enabled the rehousing of two residents, another has been accepted into University, a further two have started new jobs and several others are awaiting responses from job applications.
Sandra Philips, a volunteer at Iffley Open House said, "This space has changed lives. We are concerned that we have to move on before the end of winter, but hopeful we can find a new home and we are determined to continue working with and supporting the residents. So much has been achieved in the last six weeks in total we have provided 150 nights of warm, safe accommodation, almost 200 volunteers have given their time and thousands more have given donations and have sent messages of support. This shows what is possible when we work together as a community."
Iffley Open House is now working hard to find alternative accommodation in order to vacate the premises by the 27th February, in line with Wadham's wishes. As yet, the group does not have a place identified however.
The group has made a public callout, inviting all their supporters, the wider public and the local council to come forward with ideas of any buildings that could house up to 20 people until the end of the winter.
To send your ideas and suggestions on alternative accommodation please email [email protected]
Please also check out our petition: