Helping rough sleepers come in from the cold

19 December 2018

Services aimed at supporting rough sleepers will be running over the festive period.


The Severe Weather Emergency Protocol (SWEP) will be triggered when any part of the capital is forecast to be 0°C or lower overnight. If the SWEP is activated, Brent will work in partnership with the homelessness charity, St Mungo's, to provide additional shelter for rough sleepers in Brent.


In addition to SWEP, the charity, Crisis, will be running day centres across London. Crisis Christmas Day centres are safe, warm and lively places run by caring and friendly volunteers. As well as warm meals, other activities include arts and crafts, clothing repair, hairdressing, massage and physiotherapy, sports events, live music and entertainers, films and TV lounges, library and internet access. There's also advice available regarding benefits, employment, housing and legal matters, as well as healthcare, dentists and opticians.


A hub offering shelter to people sleeping rough recently opened in Willesden as part of Brent's commitment to show homelessness the door. The hub is able to house up to eleven people at any one time, with two bed spaces set aside for women.


Brent Council counted 30 homeless people sleeping on the streets this December. Last month, new analysis from Shelter revealed that 320,000 people were recorded as homeless in Britain; an overall increase of 13,000 people over the past year.


Cllr Muhammed Butt, Leader of Brent Council, said: "We want to end the misery of rough sleeping in Brent, which is why we are investing in and supporting these services. Our aim is to do all we can to help residents who find themselves threatened with homelessness, especially during these winter months when temperatures can drop to dangerous levels."


Street Link is a charity that aims to offer everyone the means to act when they see someone sleeping rough. The Street Link team will ensure the person sleeping rough is connected up with the services, accommodation and support available in their local area to help them away from the streets as quickly as possible.


If you are concerned about someone sleeping rough, send an alert to StreetLink by visiting, via the mobile app, available for Apple and Android devices, or by calling 0300 500 0914.