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  • Date: 09/12/2022

This winter, as the cold weather begins, we're proud to be supporting homelessness charity Concrete (part of Honeycomb Group).

When temperatures fall near or below freezing, SWEP (Severe Weather Emergency Protocol) is activated. 

SWEP involves local spaces temporarily opening as shelters for people sleeping rough in the cold weather. This is because there is an increased risk of death due to extreme temperatures. When it’s activated communal spaces in shelters, and sometimes B&Bs or hotels, will open to provide extra bed spaces.

SWEP is commissioned by local authorities and delivered by local organisations and charities – they are responsible for deciding when to activate SWEP.

The length of time that SWEP operates for depends on temperatures in the area that the local authority covers. Sometimes SWEP will activate for just one night and close as soon as the weather improves slightly. Others have protocol that means it must operate for a minimum amount of time, for example three nights.

Concrete is currently working with the local authority to raise awareness of SWEP support across Stoke-on-Trent. Within their Destination:Home service, partners Adullam Homes are providing SWEP with bed spaces at their scheme. These are available by referral through the Rough Sleepers Team. Concrete's Gateway Team are also working hard to secure accommodation for those in need as quickly as possible during the winter months.

Melanie Dunn, Director of Support and Wellbeing at Honeycomb Group, explains: “It is crucial to raise awareness of SWEP and help Concrete continue to educate local people on the support available.

"The current and predicted low temperatures create huge risk and is potentially life threatening to those rough sleeping. We must make sure people are aware of the emergency accommodation and know how to access the support available here in Staffordshire.”

If you are know someone who is rough sleeping, please contact the Rough Sleepers Team for Stoke-on-Trent and Newcastle-under-Lyme on 0800 970 2304.