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Chestertons News 13 December 2019

What can you do to help those sleeping rough in the winter?

As you may be aware, Chestertons are strong supporters of the homelessness charity St Mungo's - and urge you to take action when you see someone on the streets. As the temperatures drop, it is vital to reach people quickly to reduce the number of deaths of those sleeping rough.

Every Local Authority will have a Severe Weather Emergency Protocol (SWEP) ready to be put in place when severe weather is forecast.

Severe weather includes freezing or near-freezing temperatures, rain, snow, wind chill and gales. If it reaches 0 degrees or less at any point (along with any of the above conditions), SWEP is activated across the entire city. SWEP aims to prevent people from dying on the streets and is accessible to all people sleeping rough. Many SWEP responses will be to increase the number of bed spaces available within shelters to accommodate as many people out of the cold as possible.

If you are concerned about someone that you have seen sleeping rough, please send an alert to StreetLink, via phone call or their app.

The details you provide are sent to the local authority or outreach service for the area in which you have seen the person, to help them find the individual and connect them to support. Across Westminster, Tower Hamlets and the City of London, St Mungo’s operates the Chestertons funded 'First Response programme' – pairs of volunteers work together to find people experiencing homelessness. Chestertons have funded the First Response volunteer coordinator for over 18 months.

First Response volunteers go out ahead of outreach teams to locate the people described in the StreetLink reports. This means that outreach team workers can be much more efficient, travelling directly to where people are sleeping rough, rather than spending hours searching for them.

Find out more about the First Response initiative here.

Other actions you can take to help:

Refer those you see on the streets:
Call 0300 500 0914 or use the StreetLink App, available on iOS or Android.
Consider joining the First Response team and helping St Mungo’s find people sleeping rough.
Donate to help St Mungo’s give people the specialist housing and support they need to recover from homelessness.