Help with housing and homelessness

Where to go if you need advice, information or help to find somewhere to live.

Help with housing

If you need advice about housing that includes care and support the county council can help.

Help and advice for families and single people on how to find housing are provided by your district council.

At your local district council you can:

  • apply for council or housing association housing. You will usually have to join a list called the Housing Register and then bid for properties that become available.
  • get help if you are homeless or at risk of losing your home.

Find your local council (enter your postcode which will take you to the relevant city or district council website)

You can apply to join the Housing Register through your local council website.

Apply for Housing Benefit to help you pay your rent

Housing Benefit is being replaced by Universal Credit for most people of working age. People who have reached state pension age can still claim Housing Benefit.

Check if you are eligible for Housing Benefit or Universal Credit.

Types of housing

Social housing provided by a council or Housing Association

The city and district councils offer housing through a number of different housing associations. In addition, Oxford city and Cherwell own housing stock of their own. See above for how to apply for social housing.

Housing associations

These are not for profit organisations set up to provide affordable homes and support local communities. More information about them and the types of tenancy they offer.

Your local city or district council has a list of housing associations in your area. You can apply to live in a housing association property through your local council Housing Register (see above).

Shared ownership

This scheme gives first-time buyers the opportunity to buy a share in a home. The purchaser pays a mortgage on the share they buy and pays rent to a housing association on the remaining share. Because the mortgage is only for a share of the property, the deposit required is much lower than it would be for the whole property. The purchaser is able to increase the share they own over time usually up to 100%.

Find out more about shared ownership in Oxfordshire.

Private rented accommodation

There is a large private rental market in Oxfordshire. Landlords or letting agents usually advertise online. District councils provide information on renting privately in their area and some run their own lettings service for private landlords. Find more information on your district council website.

Most landlords and agents let properties for an initial period of six or 12 months which can then be extended by agreement of the landlord. The costs to be expected when renting from a private landlord are:

  • a refundable holding deposit (a maximum of one week’s rent)
  • a tenancy deposit (a maximum of five weeks’ rent)
  • rent in advance (usually one month’s rent).

More information can be found in the government's How to rent checklist.

Affordable housing

The cost of housing in Oxfordshire is amongst the highest in the country. Whilst there is a buoyant private rental market, rents are typically well above the amount paid by Housing Benefit or Universal Credit. Council or Housing Associations offer housing at more affordable rents, but there are waiting lists, particularly in Oxford City

Finding a Home in Oxfordshire (pdf format) gives information on affordable housing.

Making adaptations to your home

If you have difficulty managing in your home there may be small changes that can be made to enable you to live more safely.

Your needs will be assessed by an occupational therapist who will discuss options with you. 

Help with minor adaptations such as rails or ramps is available through the county council. Or a range of alarms and helpful gadgets called assistive technology may meet your needs.

Disabled facilities grants (DFG)

If you have a permanent and substantial disability you may be eligible for a disabled facilities grant. (DFG). This would allow for works such as fitting a stair lift or building a wet room.

Disabled facilities grants are administered through your local council. Before you apply for a grant you will need an assessment with an occupational therapist from the county council. The Oxfordshire Home Adaptations booklet gives more information on the process and who to contact in your local district council.

Find your local council 

Housing for key workers

There are some housing schemes exclusively for providers of essential services or key workers. More information on these and other general help in securing affordable accommodation in the county can be found in this guide Findi a home in Oxfordshire (pdf format, 1Mb).

Housing support for care leavers

If you are a young person preparing to leave the care of Oxfordshire County Council you can receive help with accommodation. At 17½ years you will be invited to a Housing Options meeting to help you understand your choices once you turn 18 and what you need to do.

If you are in foster care you can stay with your foster carer until you are 21 if that is what both you and your foster carer want.

If you are in supported housing you can remain there until you are ready to move into independence. Your social worker/personal advisor and the supported housing staff will help you understand how much money you need to earn or claim from benefits to be able to pay your rent and other bills.

If you are already living independently but find you need some support you can ask for help from a social worker or personal advisor until you reach age 25

More information on what support is available for you as a care leaver.

Shared Lives Scheme

The shared lives scheme matches people who need additional support to be independent, with carers and their families. This means a person who needs support can choose to live in an ordinary household instead of staying in residential care or being looked after by a team of support workers. The scheme is registered and regularly inspected by the Care Quality Commission.

Information about the shared lives scheme.

Extra care housing

This is housing for people usually over 55 with care needs who want to remain independent.

You will have your own flat with one or two bedrooms with flexible care available on site. There are 18 schemes across the county with more in the pipeline.

To apply to any Extra Care Housing scheme you must have your care needs assessed. You will also need to join your local housing register. 

Information about extra care housing and how to apply.

Gypsies and travellers

There are six permanent council-owned sites in Oxfordshire, providing 89 plots. These are:

  • Middle Ground, Wheatley - 16 plots
  • Ten Acre Park, Sandford-on-Thames - 16 plots
  • Redbridge Hollow, Hinksey Hill - 24 plots
  • The Sturt, Oakley Wood, Benson - 5 plots
  • Woodhill Lane, East Challow - 12 plots
  • The Furlong, Downs road, Standlake - 16 plots

There are also 21 privately run sites.

More information about authorised gypsy and traveller sites.

Specialist housing

Adult Homeless Pathway

Information on services for people who homeless or rough sleeping.

Young people's supported accommodation service (YPSA)

Vulnerable young people aged 16-25 can be housed in county council provision, some of which is managed and supported by partner organisations.  Support for care leavers is available. Information for professionals on our website.

Sheltered housing

This is similar to extra care housing and is usually provided by a housing association. While there is often access to a warden in sheltered housing, help with personal care needs to be organised separately. More information is available from your district council and applications are made through your local district council housing register

Other housing-related help and advice

Better housing, better health

Better housing, better health works to reduce the number of people in fuel poverty. It is a network of organisations across Oxfordshire and Buckinghamshire that can cross-refer to maximise help available to individuals.

Home improvement agencies

Home improvement agencies help occupiers remain safe, secure, independent and warm in their own homes. The agency service is available to people aged 60 and over, or person(s) on a low income, suffering from a long term health condition or a disability and who are vulnerable and need help repairing, maintaining or adapting their home.

Oxfordshire Homeless Movement

Oxfordshire Homeless Movement (OHM) is a countywide partnership of all the organisations in Oxfordshire working to help those experiencing homelessness.

OHM aims to bring greater visibility to all of Oxfordshire's work in this area, guiding volunteers, supporters and people experiencing homelessness to the actions or services they’re looking for. It also aims to fill critical gaps in provision that others can't and ensures that the voices of those with lived experience of homelessness are heard.