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Extra measures announced to bring rough sleepers inside during cold

Published: 30 December 2020

Cold Weather Provision Severe Weather Emergency Protocol (SWEP)

Exeter City Council will be making extra emergency accommodation available to rough sleepers over the coming days as temperatures are set to dip below freezing.

The City Council stressed that nobody needs to be sleeping outside and has activated its Severe Weather Emergency Protocol (SWEP) in light of the worsening forecast for tonight (Wednesday) and the next four nights.

The Council also said that members of the public who see someone they believe to be rough sleeping overnight can report it to Streetlink

The SWEP means that individuals confirmed by the outreach service – working with other local homelessness partner agencies - as sleeping rough in the city, will be contacted and offered the opportunity to come indoors during this spell of cold weather.

The Council and its partner agencies have been working tirelessly over the last few months to ensure as many local rough sleepers have already been accommodated especially prior to the deterioration of winter weather. As a result of this partnership work, numbers on the streets have more than halved since early November.

Homelessness services are currently working to contact a primary list of 15 persons known to be regularly rough sleeping in and around the city. The first few of these individuals are being booked into accommodation this afternoon (Wednesday) and further bookings will be made as and when contact is made over the next 24 to 48 hours.

As a result of the ongoing pandemic, sleeping spaces in communal settings have been closed and therefore the number of emergency accommodation options are very limited for people willing to come off the streets. All offers of accommodation will only be made subject to an assessment of individual needs, risk and capability which includes a person’s ability to be compliant with accommodation rules. The majority of accommodation placements will be provided through bookings with local B&Bs in and around the city.

At present services are concentrating on reaching those 15 persons known to be regularly sleeping in and around the city.

Outreach and the City Council review the weather forecasts daily and at present the SWEP is expected to be deactivated on Monday 4 January. However this will be reviewed based on updated forecasts later in the week.

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