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Severe weather emergency protocol

The severe weather emergency protocol (SWEP) aims to prevent rough sleeping during extreme cold weather. When night-time temperatures go below zero SWEP provides emergency accommodation for rough sleepers.

Is there a duty to have a SWEP?

During periods of extreme cold housing authorities must provide facilities for rough sleepers. This is to prevent deaths as a result of weather conditions.

Who are rough sleepers?

Rough sleepers are:

  • People sleeping in the open air.
  • People about to bed down (sitting on/in or standing next to their bedding) in the open air.
  • People actually bedded down (such as on the streets, in tents, doorways, parks, bus shelters or encampments).
  • People in buildings or other places not designed for habitation (such as sheds, cars, stairwells, barns, car parks, derelict boats, and so on).

Who are not rough sleepers?

  • People in hostels or shelters.
  • People in campsites or other sites used for recreational purposes.
  • People in organised protest, squatters or travellers.

When does the SWEP come into place?

If night time temperatures are going to be zero degrees or below for three consecutive nights SWEP must intervene.

Who keeps a check on the temperature?

The Housing Options Team at Eden Housing Association check the five day forecast daily.

Where will rough sleepers sleep?

We will provide bed and breakfast type accommodation or other temporary accommodation. Rough sleepers stay there either until the severe weather ends, or they have found other suitable accommodation, whichever is the sooner.

Does this apply to all rough sleepers?

No, there are exceptions. People assessed as high risk by mental health services, police or probation workers are not placed in B&B's. A high risk person is aggressive, violent or threatening violence. In these circumstances, the team will discuss with our Housing Services Manager and record the details.

What happens if someone doesn't want emergency accommodation?

We will also record when a person refuses emergency accommodation. In all cases, we will offer advice and help. Our aim is to facilitating a longer term outcome.

How often will SWEP be reviewed?

We review the SWEP annually.

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