With freezing weather moving in across the country over the next few days, St Mungo’s teams are redoubling efforts to help people rough sleeping off the streets and into emergency accommodation as temperatures become life-threatening.
When the temperature is forecast to drop below zero for three consecutive nights, local councils activate what’s called a SWEP (Severe Weather Emergency Protocol) plan, working with their local homelessness services.
St Mungo’s outreach teams in London, Bristol, Brighton and Reading will be working with local partners to provide emergency provision for those who could die if not helped inside, off the streets supporting people inside.
In London, during prolonged periods of cold, and where these local beds are full, St Mungo’s runs the Mayor’s provision to support even more people inside, offering a hot shower, clean clothes, and hot food as well as an emergency bed, while staff work to find them more permanent accommodation.
Dan Olney, Assistant Director of Outreach Services at St Mungo’s, said: “We will be working day and night to help as many people inside as possible. Rough sleeping is harmful and dangerous but when temperatures drop, lives are at risk.
“Health problems connected to continued exposure to the freezing cold, including hypothermia and pneumonia, exacerbate people’s already poor physical and mental health. It’s vital that we get help to people quickly so we can save lives but also in the longer term, find people permanent accommodation and the space to recover.
“If you are concerned about someone sleeping rough, I would urge people to get in touch via the StreetLink website streetlink.org.uk to help connect someone with their local service as soon as possible.”
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