As high temperatures continue across London and the South of England, St Mungo’s teams are providing extra support for people who are sleeping rough in the heatwave.
St Mungo’s 17 outreach teams usually go out late at night and early mornings to meet people who are homeless and to help them off the streets. With the heatwave conditions, in addition to finding routes away from the street, teams have been doing extra shifts to support people, particularly those who are in poor health.
In addition to supporting the most vulnerable into extra emergency accommodation:
• St Mungo’s teams in Westminster are working alongside day services that have nurses on hand to help with cases of dehydration and animal charities to support clients with their dogs.
• Staff in Brighton and Reading have been supported with sunscreen donations from local shops and are doing increased welfare checks and handing out water.
• In Tower Hamlets, staff are working under hot weather protocols, increasing welfare checks and referring people to emergency beds, providing information and advice cards for those that we cannot see there and then. In the City we are also putting on extra day shifts to support the most vulnerable.
• Bristol teams are doing extra welfare checks and supporting people to come into one of 65 night shelter beds available all year round.
• In Oxford St Mungo’s’ teams are working with partners to provide extra support to vulnerable people sleeping rough.
Kathleen Sims, Head of Outreach at St Mungo’s, said:
“Our aim is always to help as many people to access safe and secure accommodation as possible. Rough sleeping is harmful and dangerous at any time, however this is increased when temperatures either rise or drop dramatically.
“Health problems connected to continued exposure to heat, including dehydration, sunburn or heatstroke, exacerbate people’s already poor physical and mental health. That’s why, as well as talking about ways off the streets, our outreach teams are working hard to provide extra water, sunscreen and support during the heatwave.
“If you are concerned about someone sleeping rough, we 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. Or if you think someone sleeping rough requires medical attention, call 999.”
St Mungo’s is one of the largest providers of outreach services in the country with teams in London, Bristol, Brighton, Reading, Bournemouth and Poole, Essex and Oxford.
Our other emergency support and housing services are also responding to the heatwave.
Staff in No Second Night Out assessment hubs, for example, are giving out information around staying hydrated, providing water, light summer clothing and making extra provision for additional showering and laundry capacity.