Emergency cold weather help for homeless triggered in northern Lincolnshire

Emergency cold weather help for the homeless has been triggered in northern Lincolnshire.

The Severe Weather Emergency Protocol (SWEP) has been activated by North and North East Lincolnshire Councils after freezing weather this week. It means extra support is offered to the homeless, including a cold weather shelter for rough sleepers in Grimsby.

The freezing cold is expected to last until the weekend. Having a SWEP is not a legally required duty of a council, but the government does encourage it.

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It varies by local authority area how it is activated. In North East Lincolnshire, temperatures must be forecast below freezing for three nights in a row.

A North East Lincolnshire Council spokesperson said: “We consider the SWEP against the forecast temperatures from 1st October to 31st March each year. However, when freezing temperatures are forecast for at least three nights running, the council’s severe weather emergency protocol is activated to keep rough sleepers safe in the cold.

“The protocol remains in place until minimum temperatures climb above zero. We activated the protocol on the 14th January. All referrals for those who are homeless that day are prioritised and dealt with the same day they are received, and temporary accommodation options considered, offered, and secured on acceptance. At times of severe cold our homelessness team find bespoke emergency accommodation options for individuals through collaboration with our partners.

“If you’re worried about someone who you think is rough sleeping in the cold, please visit StreetLink (thestreetlink.org.uk) to make us aware of where they are so we can get them the help they need.” When SWEP is activated in North East Lincolnshire, if a homeless person registers between 10am and 1pm in the day they will be given a place at one of the YMCA, Salvation Army and Harbour Place.

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Beds at the YMCA, Salvation Army and Hope Street night shelters may be available from 9pm. The homelessness prevention service will also assess a person’s circumstances at Harbour Place and will help them find more permanent accommodation. More information on SWEP and the council’s support for those at risk of homelessness can be found here.

An individual’s place ends at 8am and they must leave and not return until 9pm. Significant violent behaviour towards staff or other residents, or arrival under the influence of alcohol or drugs, may result in an individual losing their place.

North Lincolnshire has previously activated SWEP when night-time temperatures are predicted to go freezing on any given night. A North Lincolnshire Council spokesperson said: “SWEP was activated on Monday and will be in place for the next 7 days.

“We continue to provide emergency accommodation for all those who are homeless and also work together with a close partnership of agencies to try and prevent homelessness in the first place. Where this is not possible we ensure we get specialist support to those that need it.” The local authority has a no-one sleeping rough by 2027 target.

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The government has had a target to end rough sleeping in England by 2024. It has also committed to spend £2bn on its rough sleeping strategy from 2022-2025. The Salvation Army warned in October the government’s target to end rough sleeping would be missed, and it was preparing to support increased numbers of rough sleepers this winter.

Original artice: https://www.grimsbytelegraph.co.uk/all-about/scunthorpe

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