Providing shelter in cold weather – and SWEP, Severe Weather Emergency Protocol support
In the winter, Hope tries to extend its hours to offer greater shelter to vulnerable rough sleepers. However, during the covid crisis, we currently cannot do so within government legal requirements. We do however offer hot food and showers six days a week, including bank holidays like Christmas day.
In years past Hope has also supported the running of SWEP, the severe weather emergency protocol which sees venues open to house rough sleepers overnight. and when needed, providing an emergency shelter where the street homeless can stay for extended hours in the daytime and early evening. We accommodated over 35 people on some nights during the very cold weather in the winter of 2017-18 when we ran SWEP last.
Since then, Northampton Borough Council has run SWEP with the extensive funding it has acquired from government. It is their responsibility to call SWEP when the weather is judged cold enough. They consult a small group of external agencies, including Hope, as to whether we think it should be called, but this is just consultation, and we have no power to make it happen, nor the space anymore to run it.
It makes a real difference: the difference between life and death. Seven homeless people died during the 17-18 winter, and others, who hesitated before coming to SWEP, suffered the consequences of being out in the cold. One SWEP user, a man with learning difficulties, who was denied access to another shelter due to £80 rent arrears he owed, lost most of his toes to frostbite in March 2018.
Email firstname.lastname@example.org or ring 01604 214300 if you want to help duirng the winter