Scheme to offer all rough sleepers accommodation if weather makes a turn for the worst

Posted on: Tuesday, December 14, 2021

With temperature dropping and weather becoming more hazardous, Newark and Sherwood District Council has plans in place to ensure all rough sleepers have access to accommodation when the weather turns for the worst.

The District Council remains committed to helping all residents across the whole district with emergency housing provision if the weather dictates it.  Whether this be those rough sleepers who need accommodation, hot food and clothing if cold or whether it be those who live in houses that have flooded.  The District Council will be there day or night to provide the help that residents need.

It can often be unnerving if you see a rough sleeper in the district.  You may wish to help but are unsure what to do.  If you do spot anyone sleeping in a doorway, under a bridge, in fact anywhere within the district of Newark and Sherwood, please call the District Council on 01636 650000.  If you can report that rough sleeper, then their teams will deal with it immediately and try their best to track them down.

The District Council has set up plans for the Severe Weather Emergency Provision (SWEP) Plus scheme which will ensure emergency provision will be available to those who are rough sleeping or homeless when the overnight temperature is forecast to zero or below for three consecutive nights.

Officers at the District Council will be monitoring the Met Office 5 day forecast on a daily basis to ensure that they are aware of any upcoming cold snaps or extreme weather conditions with Met Office warnings. If the provision is to be activated the team will notify partners and relevant agencies as soon as possible to start rolling out the service.

The ‘plus’ element of the provision may activate if Met Office predictions are expecting extreme weather even though the actual temperature is above zero but may still have substantial impact on the individual. For example persistent rain for prolonged period.

The SWEP scheme hasn’t been activated so far this year although the ‘Plus’ element has due to the extreme weather in November. The District Council is aware that there are five rough sleepers in the area. Three of them are currently in temporary accommodation as it is extremely cold at the moment, while the other two have refused this offer so far. The District Council is continuing its work with local partners to change the minds of those that have refused accommodation and encourage them to take up the District Council offer.

Newark and Sherwood District Council deal with fewer rough sleepers compared to other districts, but those that they know about are being supported. 

Leader of Newark and Sherwood District Council David Lloyd, said: “Thankfully we know that rough sleeping is not prolific in our District, we are aware of five residents being affected however, this scheme will ensure that rough sleepers receive support when they need it most.

“Support is on offer for those that want it and we’re working closely with partners and voluntary groups to offer hot food, clothing and accommodation so people don’t have to combat the harsh weather alone.

“I am aware that many of you are concerned about rough sleepers, but rest assured the help is there, and has been offered to all those we know about.  We will continue to monitor our streets but if you do come across anyone rough sleeping, please report this to us so we can get our and offer them the support they need.”

The Street Outreach teams working in Newark and Sherwood are continuing with their work again this year. They’re working in the early hours of the morning to find people who need help by building relationships with them and ultimately getting them off the streets and towards safety.

Albert Street Baptist Church in Newark has also reopened it services recently and is offering those in need hot food and clothing. Unfortunately, this year they won’t be able to provide accommodation due to COVID restrictions at their current facility.