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Severe weather emergency protocol (SWEP)

Severe weather emergency protocol (SWEP) aims to get rough sleepers off the streets during periods of below zero night-time temperatures, by providing emergency accommodation.

Is there a duty to have a SWEP?

Housing authorities are required to ensure that there is provision in place for rough sleepers during periods of extreme cold weather, to prevent people dying on the streets during cold weather.

Who are classed as rough sleepers?

The definition of rough sleepers is 'people sleeping, about to bed down (sitting on/in or standing next to their bedding) or actually bedded down in the open air (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 stairwells, barns, sheds, car parks, cars, derelict boats, stations or "bashes").'

Source: Evaluating the Extent of Rough Sleeping, Communities and Local Government, 2010.

Who are not classed as rough sleepers?

People in hostels or shelters, in campsites or other sites used for recreational purposes or organised protest, squatters or travellers are not classed as rough sleepers.

When does the SWEP come into place?

The trigger for SWEP is when the night time temperature is predicted to be zero degrees or below for three consecutive nights.

Who keeps a check on the temperature?

The Housing Options Team at Eden Housing Association are responsible for checking the five day forecast every day before 10am, when severe weather is predicted.

Where will rough sleepers be taken to sleep?

Rough sleepers will be placed in bed and breakfast (B&B) type accommodation or other temporary accommodation for the period of the severe weather or until they have found suitable alternative accommodation, whichever is the sooner.

Does this apply to all rough sleepers?

No, there are exceptions, if someone is considered too high risk to place in B&B for example, on the advice of police, probation or mental health services or when an individual is aggressive, violent or threatening violence. In such circumstances, this will be discussed with our Housing Services Manager and clearly recorded.

What happens if someone doesn't want emergency accommodation?

When a person refuses emergency accommodation this will also be recorded.

In all cases, advice and assistance will be offered, with the aim of facilitating a longer term outcome (see Service standards for rough sleepers and single homeless (PDF: 38Kb / 2 pages)

Will the number of rough sleepers given accommodation be monitored?

Together with Eden Housing Association we will monitor the number of rough sleepers accommodated under the Severe Weather Emergency Protocol (SWEP), the cost of provision, and the actions and outcomes.

How often will SWEP be reviewed?

The SWEP will be reviewed annually.