Rough sleepers in Peterborough are being made aware that shelter is available for them, as temperatures continue to drop.
Peterborough City Council activated its Severe Weather Emergency Protocol (SWEP) yesterday (Thursday). Triggered when temperatures fall to one degree centigrade or lower for three days in a row, the SWEP offers greater protection to those sleeping rough on city streets.
Last night nine rough sleepers accepted emergency accommodation at the SWEP, which has beds for 18 people. When SWEP was last activated over the festive period a total of 12 rough sleepers accepted.
The council is keen to stress that there is no need for anyone to sleep rough in Peterborough as sufficient bed space is available.
The SWEP is an additional resource for rough sleepers. It is based at Fairview Court in Oundle Road, Peterborough, and has beds for 18 people as well as ten crash beds which are provided as part of the Rough Sleeper initiative funding. Provision is also provided by Peterborough Winter Night Shelter who provide eight beds at churches across the city.
These two services are by referral from PCC and partner agencies only. The addition of SWEP means all rough sleepers will be able to get a warm place to sleep, with bedding and hot drinks.
It is part of a range of support measures for rough sleepers provided by partners of the Safer Off the Streets partnership, which also include the Garden House day shelter, provided by the Light Project Peterborough.
Councillor Irene Walsh, Peterborough City Council’s cabinet member for communities said: “The SWEP has enough places for 18 rough sleepers each night, however if more people turn up, we will find them somewhere safe and warm to sleep overnight. Individuals are not forced to attend and need to make their own decision about whether to accept an offer of shelter based on their individual circumstances.
"The average life expectancy of a rough sleeper is just 47, more than 30 years below the UK average. The reason we want to direct people to night shelters like this is because we can offer a safe, warm and caring environment and as well as help and support in getting off the streets for good."
To tell the council about rough sleepers in need of support, contact the authority on 01733 747474 or download the Streetlink app on your mobile phone.
Rough Sleepers who want support in getting off the streets for good can either:
Contact the council directly on 01733 747474.
Attend the Garden House day shelter located in the Cathedral grounds from 10am - 4pm Monday to Friday
Attend Fairview Court in Oundle Road, Peterborough.