Freezing weather triggers extra care for Lambeth’s rough sleepers

31 January 2019

Written by: Lambeth Council

Council statements and updates - Health and Wellbeing - Housing and planning - News and announcements - Post Type - Voluntary and community sector

Lambeth Council has activated its Severe Weather Emergency Protocol (SWEP) for rough sleepers, in the face of continuing low temperatures.

The council, partner agencies and commissioned services will take prompt action to ensure all rough sleepers have the opportunity to get off the streets and into emergency accommodation during the coldest nights of the year.

Main post content

Freezing weather triggers extra care for Lambeth’s rough sleepers

The SWEP, which sets out the arrangements put in place to ensure rough sleepers can find shelter during extreme cold weather, is activated in Lambeth when the Met Office forecasts temperatures of zero degrees Celsius or below. The focus of the arrangements is ensuring a humanitarian response to prevent rough sleepers dying from the cold or other severe weather conditions.

The current activation of the protocol will continue until Monday, when it will be reviewed. Temperatures will be monitored daily during this period.

All rough sleepers, including those who have no recourse to public funds, have a dog or wish to be accommodated as a couple, are provided with emergency accommodation, irrespective of usual eligibility/entitlement.

Lambeth has 11 extra spaces available in our hostels for rough sleepers, but also has the opportunity to access Pan-London SWEP accommodation, funded by the GLA.

Word from the Cabinet

Cllr Paul Gadsby, Lambeth Cabinet Member for Housing, said: “Our rough sleeping team is out day and night providing support for vulnerable people who are under threat of homelessness or who find themselves facing life on the streets. We provide almost 500 bed spaces to support this work, and the brand-new hostel run by Thames Reach will help dozens of Lambeth’s rough sleepers into safe, independent living.

“But the need is even greater at this time of year, when the freezing temperatures leaves rough sleepers particularly vulnerable to harm. The council and partners like community organisations move quickly to make sure we have even more provision – including extra emergency accommodation and night shelter housing for those most in need.

“SWEP is a big operation and it’s only possible because of the dedication of our staff and the staff and volunteers working with our partners, and I’d like to thank everyone involved for their efforts.”

If you are concerned about someone sleeping rough, please contact Lambeth Safer Streets Team (SST) by email on or by calling the team on 0207 5010601. Please provide as much information as possible about the rough sleeper and the location of their sleep site.

Additionally, members of the public can also contact Street Link. Their website is or you can call them on 0300 500 0914. Lambeth SST will be contacted from there and will attempt to locate the rough sleeper within 48 hours.