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More beds for rough sleepers in Tower Hamlets as severe weather warning activated

PUBLISHED: 19:00 09 January 2019

Accommodation is open for longer for rough sleepers in Tower Hamlets when temperatures fall below zero. Picture: Sam Mellish

Accommodation is open for longer for rough sleepers in Tower Hamlets when temperatures fall below zero. Picture: Sam Mellish

Sam Mellish

Tower Hamlets Council has added 25 beds to its hostels as part of the Severe Weather Emergency Protocol (SWEP) initiative.

When temperatures reach zero or below, SWEP is activated across London, meaning extra beds are made available and shelters stay open for longer.

In Tower Hamlets, 25 beds have been commissioned at hostels, along with a further 15 commissioned by Providence Row Housing Association and funded by the Ministry of Housing, Communities and Local Government.

If temperatures stay below zero during the daytime, most accommodation which is normally closed is kept open, and there’s authorisation to use other methods, like bed and breakfast bookings, if there aren’t enough spaces available in shelters.

During SWEP, which was activated last weekend, the council’s rough sleeper outreach team also spends more time on the streets encouraging rough sleepers to take up the offer of shelter, and team members use StreetLink, an app which allows members of the public to alert the team to rough sleepers in need of support.

Residents should download the StreetLink app or visit the website at streetlink.org.uk if they see someone in severe weather in need of help, or call 999 for someone in a medical emergency.

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