Over 50 places offered by Council to vulnerable homeless people during first week of sub-zero nights

Friday 15 December 2017

 

Over 50 places offered by Council to vulnerable homeless people during first week of sub-zero nights

High numbers of rough sleepers and the homeless in MK are successfully being placed in emergency accommodation during the current freezing temperatures.  Since Thursday 7th December when the national Severe Weather Emergency Protocol (SWEP) was enacted, over 50 people have been offered accommodation.

The Council is working above the legal requirement for the emergency protocol and helping more people by working on the ‘feels like’ temperature;  incorporating the wind-chill factor into the temperature readings, rather than just the air temperature.

The Homelessness Prevention Team are also currently contacting everyone that has been placed to ensure that they can go to the Winter Night Shelter for an assessment for further emergency accommodation and help once the minus temperatures end, currently due to be into next week.

There are approximately 90 known rough sleepers in MK right now, although this figure varies week to week and has risen from just six people in 2012. 

With arrangements in place to make sure every rough sleeper in MK has the opportunity for an emergency place when the weather is at its worst, Councillor Nigel Long, cabinet member with responsibility for homelessness, praised the work of everyone involved:

“Living on the streets can be isolating, and affects people’s health.  Winter conditions can make it even harder.  Our housing and homelessness teams are working incredibly hard with partners to make sure that everyone has the opportunity to have access to shelter if they’re at risk during severe cold weather.”

 

During SWEP conditions, rough sleepers can find emergency shelter by visiting the Civic Offices, by their usual homelessness support contacts, or via the street outreach team.

 

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Notes to Editors

 

  • Last year, under the national Severe Weather Emergency Protocol (SWEP), which guarantees rough sleepers a bed when the weather is 0 degrees or below for three or more consecutive nights, MKC found emergency places for rough sleepers on 62 occasions.

 

  • The new rough sleeper street outreach service is in place for its first winter - including a dedicated mental health crisis worker to provide intensive support to people with complex problems.