Leading homelessness charity St Mungo’s has issued a warning about the dangers people sleeping rough face during extreme hot weather as the UK experiences soaring temperatures this week.
The UK Health Security Agency has declared a ‘level two alert’ for southern and central England with temperatures forecast to reach 33C (91.4F) in some areas on Friday as hot air spreads up from Spain, Portugal and north Africa.
In response several local councils across the south of England, with support from St Mungo’s and other homelessness charities, may activate their Severe Weather Emergency Plans (SWEP) to ensure people can shelter safely during the extreme heat, with the hottest days of the year yet to come.
Once activated the St Mungo’s Outreach Team will increase 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 shelter from the sun.
Petra Salva, Director of Rough Sleeper, Westminster and Migrant Services at St Mungo’s, commented:
“Sleeping rough is always harmful and dangerous, but in particular when there are extreme changes to the weather like this week where we expect days of soaring temperatures.
“This heat can be life-threatening, especially whilst the temperatures remain high for prolonged periods. The heat can cause a number of severe health illnesses such as; heat cramps, heat rash, heat oedema, heat syncope, heat exhaustion and heat stroke.
“We ask members of the public to take action if they see someone sleeping rough, by buying them sun cream or some water and make an alert to StreetLink, so that they can be connected with local support and brought inside. In an emergency people should call 999 when a person’s safety is at risk.
“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 roof over their head.”
Every summer there are a number of excess deaths due to negative impacts of hot weather. It is estimated that nationally there are 75 extra deaths in the general population per week for each degree in temperature.
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/