Not everyone who is homeless or sleeping rough is aware that there are services available to help them.
If you are concerned about someone who is sleeping rough, or you are sleeping rough yourself and are in need of help, you can report this through the Streetlink website or by calling 0300 500 0914.
You will be asked to provide as much information as possible about the location of the person you have seen sleeping rough such as the town or postcode; street name and nearest building number; a description of where they are sleeping rough (i.e. bench outside supermarket); and what time of day/night you have seen them sleeping rough.
The information you provide will be reported to Housing Services who will arrange for the rough sleeper to be approached, so there is no need for you to do this yourself. By doing so we will be able to link them with local services and offer them advice and assistance.
However, if you think that the person is in immediate risk of harm or danger or needs urgent medical attention please call 999.
Severe Weather Emergency Protocol (SWEP)
Housing authorities are required to ensure that there is provision in place for rough sleepers during periods of extreme weather to prevent people dying on the streets in the cold.
The SWEP is triggered when the night time temperature is forecast by the Met Office to be zero degrees Celsius or below for three consecutive nights. This temperature is monitored by the council’s Emergency Management and Housing Services teams who will also monitor any other extreme weather conditions which may also trigger the SWEP such as torrential rain/flooding etc.
During the period of the SWEP the rough sleeper is not required to demonstrate eligibility for assistance as homeless (including whether they have any recourse to public funds), priority need, intentionality or local connection.
However, the rough sleeper must:
- Be at risk if they continue to sleep rough during the course of the severe weather;
- have nowhere to sleep indoors during the course of the severe weather (indoors does not include cars, sheds or garages);
- agree to the assistance offered by the council.
If the rough sleeper meets the above criteria they will be offered emergency accommodation for the duration of the severe weather.
Rough sleepers requiring assistance can make contact during office hours with the Housing Team by calling at Penns Place or telephoning 01730 234415 or outside of office hours they can use the council’s emergency contact telephone number 07850 358156. Their circumstances will be assessed so as to determine the most suitable accommodation to be provided.
All clients placed into emergency accommodation when the SWEP is in operation will be referred to a Community Housing Support Worker so that contact can be arranged for ongoing support.
The weather forecast will be checked daily and once the minimum temperature is predicted to have risen above zero degrees Celsius, emergency accommodation will no longer be provided.
The rough sleeper will be offered housing advice and assistance from the Housing Team to deal with their longer term issue of homelessness.
If any incidents of anti-social behaviour or unacceptable behaviour are shown during the course of the time that emergency accommodation is being provided which may cause it to be withdrawn, the assistance being provided will be reviewed by the council to see if there are any alternative ways to prevent rough sleeping during the severe weather whilst at the same time managing the risks imposed.