David Thomas, leader of the Green Group on Oxford City Council says, " The decision to close Lucy Faithfull House at a time of significant underspend in homeless funding by Labour is going to force many people to be spending this winter out on the streets in sub-zero temperature. It doesn't have to be this way.
"Under Labour’s rules* rough sleepers must spend two nights out in sub-zero temperatures before being entitled to emergency accommodation.”
The response by the Oxford Green Party on the decision by Labour to demolish Lucy Faithfull House, a hostel for homeless people in Oxford city centre is as follows:
1. A purpose built homeless hostel will lie empty during the winter with dozens of men and women forced to sleep in sub-zero temperatures on Oxford's streets. It could be made available for emergency winter accommodation
2. Labour’s reason for not making accommodation available all year round so is a cop out. They claim they haven't the money to do it , yet last year underspend the homeless budget by £400k saying it was deliberate to provide extra funding for this year to respond to the closure of Simon House. Labour have now reneged on this promise and refuse to make the £400k available. In effect they have taken £400k away from the most vulnerable group in Oxford
3. Labour also refuse to make a commitment to ensure everyone who wants it can have emergency shelter when it drops below zero. They are displaying callous unkindness by hiding behind Tory guidelines which says you only need open up emergency accommodation when the forecast is below zero for three nights. Council officers do their best to show discretion but politically Labour seem happy to abandon rough sleepers out in the cold.
4. Finally, Labour have failed in their efforts to work with the homeless community and make available any of the 300+ empty buildings In Oxford available for temporary use by the homeless community to help rough sleepers get back on their feet. The university and colleges have also failed to offer up any premises.
*Severe Weather Emergency Protocol