Cold weather support activated

5 January 2024

Written by: Lambeth Council

News and announcements

Winter cold snap triggers action by Lambeth to bring extra help to borough’s rough sleepers as temperatures fall


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Cold weather support activated


Lambeth Council is today activating its Severe Weather Emergency Protocol (SWEP) for rough sleepers, amid a winter cold snap as London temperatures drop.

The SWEP sets out arrangements to ensure rough sleepers are provided with shelter and other support during extremes of cold weather. It is usually activated when the Met Office forecasts temperatures of zero degrees Celsius. But Lambeth’s protocol is to consider ‘feels like’ temperatures as well as ‘actual’ temperatures so the protocol has been activated from now.

The focus of the arrangements that have been triggered is on 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.

Lambeth aims to offer emergency accommodation to all rough sleepers, including those who have no recourse to public funds, have a dog or wish to be accommodated as a couple, 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.


You can also direct rough sleepers 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