Friday, 3 February 2012

Help for homeless in cold weather

I've already been contacted by a concerned resident who found a rough sleeper trying to keep warm in the lobby of her flats with the cold spell and wanted to help them.  The council has an agreement with it's voluntary sector partners abut providing extra emergency accommodation in cold weather.  The cold can also be an opportunity to work with rough sleepers on their long term needs.  If you know where someone is sleeping rough then let us know and St Mungo's will get out there and try to encourage them to get under shelter.
You can call the housing advice team on 0118 937 2165 or St Mungo's on 0118 958 5002 or email streetconcern@mungos.org


Homeless people in Reading are being offered extra emergency beds during the freezing weather by street outreach team St Mungo's, working in association with Reading Borough Council.

Free accommodation has been made available in the communal areas of Reading's homeless hostels for anyone who would otherwise be sleeping rough. The Severe Weather Emergency Protocol (SWEP) is a partnership arrangement between Reading Borough Council, Hamble Court, the Salvation Army, Waylen Street and St Mungo's and is activated whenever the Met Office forecasts three nights or more with a minimum temperature of 0°C or below.

This emergency response gives St Mungo's outreach workers an extra opportunity to encourage rough sleepers into accommodation and support services. Local homelessness charity Launchpad Reading is also supporting this year's SWEP by providing camp beds, duvets, food packages, toiletries and warm clothes for anyone helped by the scheme.

With the support of one of their sponsors Launchpad has funded additional staffing for the hostels taking part. This has meant they have been able to increase the number of emergency beds available this year, as well as helping to ensure that the accommodation is supportive and secure.

Rachel Eden, Lead Councillor for Housing and Neighbourhoods, said: 'It's essential when the weather turns bitter to ensure everyone finds somewhere safe and warm to sleep. For anyone in Reading who find themselves homeless the council's partnership with the voluntary sector can be a lifeline at this time, but can also be a step towards more permanent accommodation. If you know of somebody sleeping rough, please let us know so that we can contact them and offer them emergency shelter'.