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Rough sleepers brought inside during cold snap, City Council reveals

Published: 4 March 2024

Icy weather has seen rough sleepers brought inside

Housing teams in Exeter have been helping rough sleepers come inside during the cold weather over the weekend.

The City Council activated its Severe Weather Emergency Protocol (SWEP) on Friday as weekend overnight temperatures plummeted to below freezing. SWEP ended today (Monday 4 March)

The Protocol makes extra emergency accommodation available to rough sleepers.

Cllr Martin Pearce, Lead Councillor for Communities and Homelessness, said anyone sleeping rough in the city was identified by the Council’s Outreach team.

"Over the course of the weekend we made a total of 17 accommodation offers of which 12 were taken up.

“Of the five that were unable to take up the offer, four of them the Outreach Team could not locate and the other one was recalled back to prison.”

Cllr Pearce thanked the City Council’s housing teams and its partners for their hard work and planning to be able to get people inside out of the elements.

“Every night that someone is forced to sleep rough on our streets puts them at risk. When temperatures fall below zero, that risk increases.”

Of all the rough sleepers identified there was only one client that we unable to make an offer to due to their risks.

Now that SWEP has ended the City Council and its partner agencies will assess each client and try to create a housing pathway that will initially allow them to continue staying at their placement and hopefully not return to a life on the streets.

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