We recognise that people are more likely to accept help during the winter months. It is also true that deaths on the streets during cold weather are more probable. When there is severe cold weather for at least 3 nights, we offer those verified as sleeping rough accommodation away from the streets.
The Council, St Mungo’s and Launchpad Reading all partner under this Severe Weather Emergency Protocol (SWEP) arrangement. SWEP offers anyone sleeping rough in Reading a bed. This will always be within a self-contained space that they can occupy during the day, as well as at night, during freezing temperatures. People with limited access to public funds can access a severe weather bed.
Referrals into SWEP accommodation can be made by St Mungo’s. Referrals are for people verified as sleeping rough, or made after the council has assessed someone as being at risk of bedding down in the cold.
SWEP is a humanitarian response during extreme weather to prevent deaths on the streets. To ensure we help the most in need, we ask that partner agencies only refer people to them who they believe are rough sleeping or at risk of rough sleeping. This ensures that we target resources towards those who are most vulnerable.