Plans submitted to create Oxford supported living scheme

A2Dominion, a not-for-profit residential property group, has submitted a planning application to Oxford City Council to build a bespoke supported living scheme for homeless people on derelict land at Rymers Lane in Cowley.
CGI showing the new scheme in Rymers Lane
CGI showing the new scheme in Rymers Lane
The plans were laid as the council announced £1.5 million in funding for homelessness services over six years, including £1.1 million at the new facility for up to five years. If the application is successful, work on site next to the John Allen Centre is due to start in March 2018.

The Rymers Lane facility will provide 22 units of accommodation with support to help people with a range of needs. There will also be a further 15 move-on units for people with low support needs as they move from the hostel towards independent living.

The proposals come following news that Simon House, an existing facility run by A2Dominion for the city’s homeless people, was being decommissioned as a result of Oxfordshire County Council reducing its funding for homelessness services.

Oxford City Council will now provide £200,000 to A2Dominion in transitional funding to keep 22 beds open at Simon House until spring 2019 when the new facility opens.

The Council will continue discussions with A2 Dominion about redeveloping the Simon House site into a residential development.

Pam Vasir, Group Director of Supported Housing at A2Dominion, said: “We are delighted that Oxford City Council has agreed funding to keep Simon House open while we build a replacement for Oxford’s homeless people.“The new supported-living scheme will allow us to provide support services and move-on accommodation to help people back into the community. In the meantime, we will continue to provide high-quality services for Oxford’s homeless people at Simon House, including emergency beds this winter.

“Our priority is always to support people who are in urgent need of our services, and we are committed to giving Oxford’s homeless people safety and shelter when it is needed the most.”

Councillor Mike Rowley, Board Member for Housing, at Oxford City Council said: “Even though Oxford City Council already does more than most councils to tackle homelessness, the national crisis which engulfs our streets means we needed to do even more. Oxfordshire County Council funding cuts have left Oxford’s homelessness services facing an unprecedented challenge. The £1.5 million in additional funding we have agreed demonstrates our faith in those services and their ability to get people off the streets.

“Building a new supported housing facility offers us the opportunity to provide a bespoke service that meets the needs of the city’s homeless as they move from the streets towards independent living. We are also providing extra funding which recognises that the most vulnerable homeless people find it hard to cope with supported housing environments.”