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The cold weather and winter impact on homelessness

The cold weather and winter impact on homelessness

When temperatures fall near or below freezing, SWEP (Severe Weather Emergency Protocol) is activated. Our Operations Manager Rachael Quarmby explains how Concrete is supporting partners and most importantly local people.

SWEP involves local spaces temporarily opening as shelters for people sleeping rough in the cold weather. This is because there is an increased risk of death due to extreme temperatures. When it’s activated communal spaces in shelters, and sometimes B&Bs or hotels, will open to provide extra bedspaces.

SWEP is commissioned by local authorities and delivered by local organisations and charities – they are responsible for deciding when to activate SWEP.

The length of time that SWEP operates for depends on temperatures in the area that the local authority covers. Sometimes SWEP will activate for just one night and close as soon as the weather improves slightly. Others have protocol that means it must operate for a minimum amount of time, for example three nights.

At Concrete, we’re currently working with the local authority to raise awareness of SWEP support across Stoke-on-Trent.

Within our Destination:Home service, our partners Adullam Homes are providing SWEP with bed spaces at their scheme. These are available by referral through the Rough Sleepers Team.  Our Gateway Team are also working hard to secure accommodation for those in need as quickly as possible during the winter months.

Last year we were supported by Stoke-on-Trent City Council’s winter funding, which helped us to provide hot food and Christmas gifts to customers across Stoke-on-Trent, so our team are hoping to secure this again.  

If you are rough sleeping or know someone who is, please contact the Rough Sleepers Team for Stoke-on-Trent and Newcastle-under-Lyme on 0800 970 2304.

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