Severe Weather Emergency Protocol (SWEP)
Keeping people safe this winter
In Northampton, there are dozens of services and organisations that are working all year round to tackle and prevent homelessness.
We all have a responsibility to do everything we can to prevent deaths on the streets caused by winter weather. Although winter often poses the greatest risk to people’s health, it also provides increased opportunities to engage with entrenched rough sleepers and other hard-to-reach groups because they may be more likely to accept support at this time of year.
It is for this reason that SWEP operates in Northampton each winter.
When SWEP will operate
There is no strict definition of what counts as ‘severe weather’.
SWEP will normally operate, however, when the temperature falls below freezing and is forecast to remain below freezing for a period of at least three consecutive nights.
In consultation with the Hope Centre, we will determine when SWEP should be activated. We will do this by closely monitoring the Met Office's weather forecasts and taking into account any weather (including extreme cold, wind and rain) that is likely to increase the risk of serious harm to people who are sleeping rough.
SWEP arrangements for winter 2017
Although we will continue to co-ordinate SWEP and provide funding and volunteers, our priority is to make sure that Northampton’s Emergency Nightshelter remains fully staffed and operational, so that it remains available for those who meet the access criteria.
Northampton’s Hope Centre has kindly agreed that with our support and the support of Midland Heart Housing Association and NAASH, it will host SWEP during the winter of 2017/18 and take the lead in ensuring that everything runs smoothly on the nights that SWEP is operational. This means that, on those nights of severe weather, the Hope Centre will provide shelter for those people who are unwilling or unable to stay at the Nightshelter.
People who use SWEP will be provided with a hot meal, hot drinks, bedding and access to shower facilities. During the next working day, they will have the opportunity to access a range of advice and support, including signposting and referrals to other services.
How to access SWEP
If someone is sleeping rough – or is at risk of sleeping rough – and does not meet the access criteria of Northampton's Emergency Nightshelter (because, for example, they are unwilling to engage with local services) they can register for SWEP.
Before they can be considered for SWEP, the person will need to meet with a member of our Street Outreach Team, the Hope Centre or NAASH to complete a risk assessment.
SWEP will operate from the Hope Centre between 10pm and 7am. Anyone wishing to use SWEP must arrive before 11pm.
To ensure that SWEP is safe and effective, everyone who uses SWEP must comply with a set of rules. The Hope Centre and its partners reserve the right to exclude anyone who does not comply with these rules or poses an unacceptable risk to others.
What to do if you see a rough sleeper
If you identify someone who is sleeping rough, you should notify our Street Outreach Team and encourage the person to see one of the Street Outreach Workers as soon as possible:
|Monday||One Stop Shop, the Guildhall||9am - 5pm|
|Tuesday||Oasis House, housing advice drop-in||9am - 3pm|
|Wednesday||One Stop Shop, the Guildhall||9am - 5pm|
|Thursday||Oasis House, housing advice drop-in||9am - 3pm|
|Friday||One Stop Shop, the Guildhall||9am - 5pm|
Volunteer for SWEP
Extra pairs of hands are always welcome so, if you would like to help out when SWEP is operational, please telephone Emma Forbes (our Housing Options & Advice Manager):
- 01604 838719
Alternatively, please contact Tara Scarth (the Hope Centre’s SWEP Lead Officer):
- 0845 5199371