Severe weather emergency protocol

The severe weather emergency protocol (SWEP) aims to help vulnerable people in the Westmorland and Furness area who are rough sleeping when severe weather can threaten their safety.

You can let us know about somebody who is sleeping rough or ask for help if you are sleeping rough.

This service is only available to people in our area. If you’re not in our area get help from your local council.

The help we can give

To get help contact us.

We will consider implementing SWEP during severe weather events which increase the risk of harm to people sleeping rough for example extreme cold, heat or extended periods of high winds or heavy rain.

We will provide bed and breakfast (B&B) type accommodation or other temporary accommodation. Rough sleepers stay there either until the severe weather ends, or they have found other suitable accommodation.

You can ask for help if you or a person is:

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

We can’t help:

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

People assessed as high risk by mental health services, police or probation workers are not placed in B&B's. The Housing Options Team will discuss what options are available with the people involved.

How we manage SWEP

We review our SWEP service every year.

Our Housing Options Team at check the five day forecast on the BBC website. We make a decision to implement SWEP based on the forecast.

We record when a person refuses emergency accommodation. In all cases, we will offer advice and help. Our aim is to facilitate a longer-term outcome for rough sleepers.


Last updated: Wednesday, 24 April, 2024.