Severe Weather Emergency Protocol (SWEP)

Severe Weather Emergency Protocol (SWEP)

Sleeping rough is very dangerous, especially during freezing temperatures.

Winter often poses the greatest risk to people’s health; however, it also provides more opportunities than usual for us to engage with rough sleepers because they may be more likely to accept support at this time of year.

Although there is no strict definition of what counts as ‘severe weather’, SWEP normally operates when overnight temperatures fall below freezing and the Met Office forecasts that the temperature will be below freezing for at least 3 consecutive nights.

In consultation with our partners, we decide when SWEP should operate. We do this by monitoring the Met Office’s weather forecasts and taking into account any weather (including extreme cold, wind and rain) that increases the risk of serious harm to people sleeping rough.

You can find more information about SWEP on the Homeless Link website.

Northampton’s Winter Shelter

When SWEP is operational, a temporary Winter Shelter will operate from the Hope Centre on the ground floor of Oasis House in Campbell Street, Northampton.

The Winter Shelter will be accessible to men and women who are sleeping rough in Northampton, who have registered for SWEP. To register for SWEP, they will have been interviewed and risk assessed by our Single Homelessness Adviser or one of our Street Outreach Workers, Hope Centre or NAASH, and been assessed as not posing an unacceptable risk to other people in the Shelter.

Men who are sleeping rough in Northampton, who meet the access criteria and who are willing to stay, will be referred for a place at Northampton’s Emergency Nightshelter. Guests will be admitted to the Winter Shelter from 9pm and must arrive no later than 11pm. Hot drinks and food will be provided until 11.30pm. Guests who use SWEP will be provided with a hot meal, hot drinks, bedding and access to shower facilities. During the evening, and the next working day, they will have the opportunity to access a range of advice and support, including signposting and referrals to other services.

To ensure that SWEP is safe and effective, everyone who uses SWEP must comply with a set of rules. We and our partners reserve the right to exclude anyone who does not comply with these rules or poses an unacceptable risk to other people in the shelter.

Volunteer to help

If you would like to help with the running of the Winter Shelter, please view the job description and apply online:

Donations for SWEP

Donations of food and warm clothing are always welcome so, if you would like to make donations when SWEP is operational, please contact Emma Forbes (our Housing Options & Advice Manager):

What to do if you see a rough sleeper

If you identify someone who is sleeping rough, please notify our Street Outreach Team and encourage the person to visit the Guildhall to see our Single Homelessness Adviser as soon as possible. Our Single Homelessness Adviser runs a drop in at the One Stop Shop, Monday to Friday 10am until 4pm, and will complete a full assessment of a person’s needs (including a referral to emergency accommodation if appropriate).