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More than bricks and mortar: milestone reached in refurbishment of homeless accommodation

Oxford Direct Services (ODS), the commercial arm of Oxford City Council, has successfully refurbished 50% of homeless accommodation for the charity Homeless Oxfordshire.

Homeless Oxfordshire is the largest homeless accommodation provider across the county, providing shelter at its 56-bed hostel and another 144 beds across the local community in 24 properties.

ODS won the contract for building repairs, improvements and refurbishment of the properties in 2017 and is 15 months into a three-year contract. To date, more than 50% of the properties have been refurbished, including the provision of new kitchens and bathrooms where necessary.

Lucy Flanagan, head of property and facilities at Homeless Oxfordshire, said, "The refurbishments have enabled us to provide people who have been homeless with a homely space while they are temporarily accommodated with us. We have a great partnership with Oxford Direct Services and the quality of work is always to a high standard."

The outsourcing of the maintenance process has also allowed the charity to focus more on its core objective to accommodate and provide specialist support to homeless adults. Each year, more than 550 homeless people turn to the charity. It provides accommodation and serves 75, 000 meals each year. At the same time, the charity helps the homeless get back on their feet and back into society and supports health and wellbeing via the Luther Street Medical Centre. It also influences public provision and policy by highlighting the social impact of its work and raising awareness and reducing the stigma of homelessness.

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