Lambeth Council activates its Severe Weather Emergency Protocol (SWEP) for rough sleepers

30 November 2023

Written by: Lambeth Council

Better and Fairer Lambeth

Extra help is being offered to homeless people on the streets of Lambeth during the cold weather.

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Lambeth Council activates its Severe Weather Emergency Protocol (SWEP) for rough sleepers

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

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 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.

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.

Councillor Maria Kay, Cabinet Member for Better Homes and Reducing Homelessness said: “Lambeth’s rough sleeping outreach teams are out day and night providing support to those in need to help get them into accommodation as quickly as possible.”

“There are very real challenges with ongoing cuts to the public sector followed by the cost-of-living crisis having impacted most on those with least.

“This is reflected in the steep rise we have seen in the number of rough sleepers in our borough, up by more than 40 per cent over the last two years.

“This winter more than ever we should do all we can to protect the most vulnerable.”

If you are concerned about someone sleeping rough, please report this via StreetLink – this ensures each report is directed to the most appropriate outreach team, who will be on shift to support the person sleeping rough.

If you have concerns regarding a rough sleeper during the day, you can also direct them to local Day Centres in Lambeth for support. The three Day Centres in Lambeth are:

  • Spires day centre, Streatham, 8 Tooting Bec Garden, London SW16 1RB
  • Webber St day centre, 6-8 Webber Street, London SE1 8QA
  • Ace of Clubs day centre, St Alphonsus Road, London SW4 7AS