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Joint leaders’ statement to mark World Homeless Day – 10 October

The following is a joint statement by the leaders of Vale of White Horse and South Oxfordshire district councils, Cllrs Bethia Thomas and David Rouane to mark World Homeless Day on 10 October:

“As international attention focuses today on homelessness, we believe everyone should have somewhere they feel safe and secure that they can call home.

“However, homelessness could impact any of us, whether it is due to a landlord issuing an unexpected notice to leave, a relationship breakdown or escaping the threat of domestic abuse.

“It’s the most extreme form of housing inequality – that’s why we continue to do all we can to prevent homelessness and help people access affordable housing which meets their needs.

“The impact of the cost-of-living crisis has led to record levels of homelessness nationally, stretching housing needs services across the country.  The demand for homelessness assistance in South and Vale rose by 12 per cent in 2022/23.   We are working harder than ever to support residents at risk of homelessness.

“The councils’ housing needs team identifies those at risk of homelessness and works closely with them helping them remain safely at home or securing them suitable alternative accommodation.  

“The councils also continue to help refugees as part of the UK’s humanitarian duties to assist those fleeing war. Working alongside partner authorities, health organisations, residents, community groups and voluntary sector organisations in Oxfordshire we help provide safe shelter and support to refugees and asylum seekers from countries like Afghanistan and Ukraine, and the Hong Kong British National visa scheme.

“We understand that targeted and personalised early intervention maximises the opportunity to avoid homelessness. Every year at Vale of White Horse and South Oxfordshire district councils, the housing needs team helps prevent hundreds of households from becoming homeless.  In 2022/23, the team successfully prevented 527 households from becoming homeless.

“The most recent Government statistics show Vale of White Horse and South Oxfordshire are in the top 10 per cent of councils for successfully preventing homelessness.”

2022/23 –  Percentage of households at risk of homelessness*  which were successfully prevented from becoming homeless:

England                                   52.8%

South East                               54.4%

South Oxfordshire                    80.6%

Vale of White Horse                 74.9%

“The councils are committed to ending rough sleeping in the districts with a strong focus upon prevention, early intervention and increasing access to sustainable accommodation.  This is becoming increasingly challenging with the cost-of-living crisis leading to a national rise in rough sleeping. The councils continue to work closely with partners, health and care agencies, housing and support providers and voluntary agencies to provide former rough sleepers rapid access to long-term accommodation where they receive intensive support from the start of their tenancy.

“Offering former rough sleepers the stability of a long-term home with tailored support can have a transformative effect on people’s lives and end the cycle of homelessness.”

Anyone in need of help with housing, who is homeless or is at risk of being homeless can call our housing team on 01235 422452.

Our Community Hub can also provide wider support or advice for people, call 01235 422600 or email

See our housing delivery strategy and action plan on our website for details on how we are bringing more genuinely affordable, energy efficient homes to the districts.


* Prevention duty

The councils have a duty to provide advice and assistance if people are:

  • eligible for assistance which means they have the right to claim benefits and housing in the UK
  • at risk of becoming homeless within 56 days (8 weeks)

This prevention duty means that the councils must take reasonable steps to help prevent people from becoming homeless.