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5 Dec 2012

Severe Weather Emergency Provision

We are facing more cold weather so this information could prove useful.

Launchpad: http://www.launchpadreading.org.uk/

St Mungo's: http://www.mungos.org/services/where_we_work/reading

'Reading Borough Council Press Release

As in previous years, homeless people who find themselves on the streets in Reading are to be offered emergency extra beds during severe cold weather this winter.

The Severe Weather Emergency Protocol (SWEP) is a partnership arrangement between Reading Borough Council, Launchpad, Hamble Court, the Salvation Army, Waylen Street and St Mungo's that has existed for many years and is activated whenever the Met Office forecasts three nights or more with a minimum temperature of 0°C or below.

During this time, St Mungo's coordinate extra accommodation in the communal areas of Reading's homeless hostels for anyone who would otherwise be sleeping rough.

St Mungo's are commissioned by Reading Borough Council to provide a street outreach team to support rough sleepers and assist them in moving into appropriate accommodation. During the cold weather, St Mungo's use the opportunity to engage with homeless people who may have been previously reluctant to access accommodation and support services.

In addition, this year Launchpad will be coordinating a breakfast drop-in for the use of SWEP clients. This will provide further opportunity for the St Mungo's team to assess and engage with homeless people and encourage them to access support service available.

Last year, over the winter period, 46 people were offered SWEP accommodation and only 5 refused. 40% of those accommodated in SWEP were from outside of the Borough. When St Mungo's carried out analysis in May of this year, they found that 28 (57% of those offered) of the homeless that had engaged with SWEP had gone on to find settled accommodation.

Reading Borough Council's Lead Councillor for Neighbourhoods and Housing, Rachel Eden, said: "Reading can be proud of the work that the Council, St Mungo's and the rest of the voluntary sector do in partnership all year round to support rough sleepers and help them back into accommodation; but particularly, as the nights draw in, I'd urge anyone who knows of a rough sleeper to contact St Mungo's or the Council so that they can make contact. During any prolonged cold weather, emergency measures are put in place and this can help people access services that can make a long term difference.'

Anyone concerned about a rough sleeper at any time of the year in Reading should contact Street Concern on 0118 9585002 Mon-Fri 9am-5pm or email streetconcern@mungos.org'

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