Rough sleepers in Northampton will need to be assessed to access shelter in freezing weather, council says

Northampton Borough Council is providing protection to rough sleepers during the wintry weather.
Northampton Borough Council is providing protection to rough sleepers during the wintry weather.

Emergency support is being provided to rough sleepers in Northampton during the freezing temperatures until tomorrow morning, but they will need to be assessed first.

As part of a plan to protect vulnerable people during the spells of severe weather through the winter of 2017/18, the borough council is supporting the Hope Centre to provide shelter to people who are sleeping rough.

The Severe Weather Emergency Protocol (SWEP) scheme was activated on Friday, 8 December and is anticipated to run through to the morning of Wednesday, 13 December, however this will be monitored regularly. Over the weekend 13 people used the scheme. This included 10 on Friday night, 9 on Saturday night, and 11 on Sunday night.

The SWEP scheme is a partnership agreement between Northampton Borough Council, the Hope Centre, Midlands Heart and NAASH to provide a warm place for rough sleepers to spend the night when the temperature falls below freezing for three consecutive nights.

To access the scheme, people who are sleeping rough will need to meet with a member of the Council’s Street Outreach Team, the Hope Centre or NAASH for assessment.

Shelter will be provided in the Hope Centre at Oasis House between 10pm at night and 7am the next morning, including bedding and food to support them through the cold weather. Anyone wishing to use the scheme must arrive before 11pm.

When the weather improves, help will continue to be provided to those people to find homes or other assistance they need.

Councillor Stephen Hibbert, Cabinet member for housing and wellbeing, said: “With the temperatures dropping, we will be working with partners to ensure that everyone has the chance to keep warm, eat a good meal and stay safe at night.

“It is also an opportunity for us to show what support is available and how we can help people to get back on their feet.”

Contact the Council’s Street Outreach Team at www.streetlink.org.uk if you know of or see anyone who could benefit from the SWEP scheme.