St Mungo’s issues cold weather warning as temperatures plummet this New Year

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

For the first time this year, today (Monday 16 January), the Met office have issued a cold weather warning alert, 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 London the provision is reviewed daily. In all other areas SWEP will be active until at least Wednesday 18 January and then reviewed on a daily basis. In Bristol and Bournemouth, Christchurch and Poole provision will run until at least Friday 20 January when it will be reviewed again.

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: “The temperatures have plummeted today and they look to continue throughout this week. These low temperatures can kill people who are street homeless and it is absolutely right this is treated as an emergency.

“As ever St Mungo’s teams are prepared to respond to this this critical situation. We will continue to work tirelessly around the clock to ensure that people are brought into the safe and warm.

“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.

“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 –

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