Supporting people rough sleeping during extreme cold weather
How you can help Thames Reach to support people who are sleeping rough in extreme weather
Every night of the year, Thames Reach outreach teams are out on the streets across London helping rough sleepers find a safe and warm place to stay. The needs of people sleeping rough vary considerably and our teams have access to a range of housing and health-related services to ensure that everyone we meet can get the support they need.
Severe cold weather increases the risk to people sleeping rough. Snow, freezing temperatures and icy winds can be life-threatening. When temperatures drop below zero, the Thames Reach outreach teams support the ‘Severe Weather Emergency Protocol’ (SWEP), a provision made available by the Greater London Authority and local authorities that provides additional accommodation to help more people move indoors. This means that we will be working additional shifts to make sure that we contact everyone who is sleeping rough and offer them a warm place to stay.
Under this protocol an offer of accommodation is available to every single person sleeping rough.
Not everyone sleeping rough who is offered accommodation accepts it. We work hard to encourage rough sleepers to leave the streets and we will keep on meeting people until they take up offers of accommodation.
Thames Reach will never give up on anyone no matter how difficult their situation may be, our staff and services will work with an individual for as long as it takes to get them out of the cold.
If you see anyone sleeping rough in London, please contact Streetlink, via phone or their app. You can use their website to alert outreach workers to the location of a rough sleeper. Staff will respond to your referral and work to bring people into the warmth.