Severe Weather Emergency Protocol Reactivated in Southend

HARP, Southend’s leading homeless charity, are working with their partners, including Southend-on-Sea City Council, to ensure that no one has to sleep outside during the current cold snap.

View of HARP building

The Met Office have announced freezing temperatures over the next few nights. In response, the severe weather emergency protocol (SWEP), which kicks in whenever there is extreme hot or cold weather, has been activated.

As freezing cold nights are predicted over the coming days, the coordinated response will see people sleeping rough offered emergency housing out of the cold for their own health, wellbeing and protection.

Vanessa Hemmings, CEO of HARP, said: “As we head into another cold snap, we have reopened our emergency pop-up shelter to make sure that no one is forced to sleep out in the dangerous forecasted conditions.”

“Our teams are working extremely hard, alongside our partners, to get everyone in. Members of the public can also do their bit too – if you spot someone sleeping rough, we urge you to raise an alert on Streetlink - this ensures that the right agencies in your area, including HARP in Southend, are alerted and that our Outreach Team can be despatched. Raising a StreetLink could save a life during this exceptionally cold period.”

If you are concerned about someone who you have seen sleeping rough, please go to Streetlink and report it with as much detail as you can. This will alert the outreach teams across Southend to the person’s whereabouts, and they can check on their welfare and offer emergency accommodation.

Cllr Ian Gilbert, cabinet member for economic recovery, regeneration and housing, said: “No one wants vulnerable people who are sleeping rough to face a night on the streets in extreme weather, either cold or heat. We are fortunate in Southend to have a collaborative approach to such emergencies and I’m glad we’ve enacted SWEP to get our vulnerable people into emergency accommodation, where their immediate needs can be assessed.”

Published: 17th January 2023

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