“Cold weather can be fatal for people sleeping rough” St Mungo’s issues advice about how the public can help during this weekend’s cold snap

As temperatures plummet across the UK, leading homelessness charity St Mungo’s is calling on members of the public to take action if they see someone sleeping rough.

With the support from St Mungo’s, and many homelessness charities across the south of England, several local councils have activated emergency cold weather plans to ensure people can shelter safely during the freezing temperatures expected this weekend.

Known as ‘Severe Weather Emergency Protocol (SWEP)’ it sees more accommodation made available in the areas affected, with the aim of ensuing nobody has to sleep on the streets during such extreme conditions.

Today (Friday 1 April), SWEP was activated in the following areas where St Mungo’s operates:

  • London
  • Oxford
  • Reading

SWEP will be activate throughout the weekend and reviewed again on Monday 4 April. People are advised to keep checking social media for the latest updates in their local areas.

Members of the public are being urged to take action if they see someone sleeping rough during the cold weather period by making an alert via the StreetLink app, which connects people sleeping rough with their local outreach team.

In emergency situations when a person’s safety is at immediate risk, members of the public should call 999.

The St Mungo’s Outreach Team have increased the number of routine shifts being carried out across the activated cities and will continue to ensure that everybody who is on the streets is offered a safe and warm space to stay indoors overnight.

Petra Salva, Director of Rough Sleeper, Westminster and Migrant Services at St Mungo’s, commented: “Sleeping rough is always a health risk, but is particularly dangerous when temperatures plummet like they have done this week.

“Cold weather can be life-threatening, so it is important that the public and people experiencing homelessness are aware of the additional accommodation available for people sleeping rough.

“St Mungo’s is joining other charities in working with local authority partners to ensure that more accommodation is available, and safe spaces in existing services are turned into emergency shelters, to offer people a warm roof over their head.

“We ask members of the public to take action if they see someone sleeping rough and make an alert to StreetLink, so that they can be connected with local support and brought inside.”

StreetLink operates 24 hours a day, 365 day a year with alerts being passed to local outreach teams who then use the information to find and support people sleeping rough.

Find out more here – https://www.streetlink.org.uk/