“Sleeping rough is dangerous all year round, but freezing temperatures can kill” – St Mungo’s issues cold weather warning

Leading homelessness charity St Mungo’s is warning of the danger cold weather presents to people sleeping rough as freezing temperature sweep the country.

Today (Wednesday 7 December), the Met Office has announced weather warnings due to the low temperatures, which has prompted many councils to activate their emergency response. This is designed to help people who are street homeless stay safe during extreme weather.

Known as ‘Severe Weather Emergency Protocol (SWEP)’ the plans see increased outreach shifts and more accommodation made available, with the aim of ensuing nobody has to sleep on the streets during such extreme conditions.

SWEP has been activated in the following areas where St Mungo’s operates:

  • Across London
  • Oxford
  • Reading
  • Bristol
  • Bournemouth, Christchurch and Poole

In all areas SWEP will be active until at least Monday 12 December. In Bristol provision will run until at least Friday 9 December when it will be reviewed.

If members of the public are concerned about anyone sleeping outside they are urged to contact StreetLink via its app which connects people sleeping rough with their local outreach team.

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

St Mungo’s Outreach Teams 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.

Hannah Faulkner, Head of Rough Sleeping Services at St Mungo’s said: “We know that sleeping rough is dangerous all year round, but freezing temperatures can pose a risk to life.

“During periods of cold and extreme weather it is essential that members of the public, people experiencing homelessness and other support services are all aware that additional accommodation and support is available.

“St Mungo’s is here, with our outreach team working throughout the year to provide support to those who are sleeping rough. When the severe weather response is activated during periods of extreme weather, our team works around the clock to ensure that people are brought into the safe and warm.

“Anyone who is concerned about a person who is street homeless should contact StreetLink. And, as ever, if someone is in an emergency situation people should call 999.”

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

For further updates on the severe weather provision follow St Mungo’s Twitter account – @StMungos