There are currently no legal protections for people sleeping rough in England during severe weather. The provision of shelter is not a statutory duty, even when conditions are life threatening. However, there is a humanitarian obligation on local authorities to do all they can to prevent deaths on the streets and for their partners and the public to support these efforts.
The winter period often presents the greatest risks to people’s health and provides increased opportunities to engage with more entrenched rough sleepers and other hard to reach groups who may be likely to accept support at this time of the year. The aim of having Severe Weather Emergency Protocol (SWEP) provision in place is to:
There is no single definition of severe weather. Any extreme conditions that increase the risk of harm to people sleeping rough can be classed as severe and includes severe cold, wind, snow, rain and heat.
Crawley Borough Council’s Housing Options Service will assess any forecast weather warnings, near freezing temperatures, rain, snow, wind chill, gales or heat. If SWEP is triggered then this will be communicated by way of social media and through local partners and organisations. The Council will provide accommodation on a nightly basis during the period of severe weather. This may be in the form of bed and breakfast accommodation or a communal shelter in partnership with local agencies.
You can contact our Housing Options Team Monday-Friday from 9am-5pm by telephoning 01293 438607 or emailing Housing Options . Outside of these hours you can telephone 01293 438000.
Check information on our Facebook page for updates and complete a referral form for anyone who needs to access this provision during office hours or direct them to telephone 01293 438000 outside of these hours.
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