Severe Weather Emergency Protocol (SWEP)

1. Protocol background

The Government requires local authorities to make sure arrangements are in places to protect rough sleepers and provide temporary accommodation for periods of prolonged severe weather.

2. Protocol purpose

Extreme cold weather can increase the risks of death or serious illness to people who are on the streets sleeping rough. The purpose of this protocol is to set out the measures that East Northamptonshire Council have put in place to try and ensure people sleeping rough in the district during extreme cold weather are not are risk.

3. Activation of the Protocol

Arrangements under this protocol are triggered when the night time temperature is predicted to be zero degrees Celsius or below for three consecutive nights or more. If such temperatures are predicted then emergency accommodation is made available until such time as the temperature rises above zero degrees Celsius.

The protocol uses the Meteorological Office website for the forecast for the location of Kettering. This information is checked on a daily bases.

When the protocol needs to be activated the Council advise by email, Homes Direct the Council’s housing contractors, East Northamptonshire Community Services (ENCS), Senior Management Team at the council, and all agencies involved in the East Northamptonshire Housing Forum. Phone calls are also made to Homes Direct & ENCS to make sure they are aware the SWEP has been opened or closed.

4. Eligibility

The SWEP provision is for rough sleeper who have no where to go to sleep indoors during the period of severe weather, and be at risk if they continue to sleep outside during the severe weather.

5. Severe Weather Emergency Protocol Procedures

All clients placed under this SWEP are accommodated at the Full Gospel Church in Rushden, and are to be referred to the Homes Direct service for housing advice for assistance with their longer term homelessness and support needs.

6. Monitoring

Homes Direct will complete and SWEP Assistance form for all clients accommodated by SWEP. This form will be used by the council to record he number of client accommodated under the SWEP to get a fully picture of the level of rough sleepers in the district and the issues being faced in order to apply the ‘No second night out’ project.

7. Severe Weather Emergency Protocol Funding

The cost of funding the protocol is met by East Northamptonshire Council using the Homelessness Prevention Fund.

8. Unacceptance behaviour and risk management

If any incident of anti-social behaviour occurs during a client’s stay in the SWEP accommodation East Northamptonshire Community Services will ask the client to leave. Following the client’s eviction from the SWEP accommodation East Northamptonshire Council will review the client situation and determine whether any other form of accommodation can be provided while SWEP is open. In some incidence, where risk is unmanageable, some rough sleepers may have to be barred from provision under SWEP.