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How to help rough sleepers off the streets during periods of severe freezing weather and snow

A guide to helping the homeless get shelter during periods of sub-zero temperatures

Help is at hand for homeless people and vulnerable tenants across west London as the intense cold weather continues.

With the "Beast from the East" bringing temperatures below freezing, rough sleepers are faced with potentially deadly conditions as life on the streets gets harder.

Special measures known as Severe Weather Emergency Protocol (SWEP) are in place to prevent death on our streets and are provided by local authorities, homelessness providers, faith and community groups.

Funded by councils, the scheme provides beds and shelter so the homeless can keep warm and have a safe place to sleep during the cold snap.

Hounslow Council

The Shelter Project Hounslow (TSPH) is a joint churches initiative, running winter night shelters for homeless people in the coldest months.

It provides a rolling shelter model allowing rough sleepers access to a different church in Hounslow each night of the week from December to March inclusive, providing accommodation and hot food for up to fourteen guests every night.

A rough sleeper outside the old Morrisons store in Hounslow West

In the event of sub-zero temperatures, the church opens its doors to a further five rough sleepers.

Each person is given bedding, basic toiletries and a cooked main evening meal as well as breakfast in the morning.

Christ Church Turnham Green,Chiswick
Monday March 5, 12, 19, 26

Our Lady of Grace, Chiswick
Tuesday March 6, 13, 20, 27

Hounslow Evangelical
Wednesday March 7, 14, 21, 28

Hounslow Methodist Church
Thursday March 1, 8, 15, 22

Ealing Road Baptist Church, Brentford
Friday March 2, 9, 16, 23

St Michael's Sutton Court, Chiswick
Saturday March 3, 10, 17, 24

St Paul's, Brentford
Sunday March 4, 11, 18, 25

Help rough sleepers during severe cold snap(Image: Manchester Evening News)

The Hounslow Street Outreach Team (HSOT) locate and support rough sleepers across the borough, directing them to the necessary support services and helping them off the streets.

The team also provides first time rough sleepers emergency shelter known as No Second Night Out (NSNO).

Vulnerable tenants in the 60 council sheltered units are in regular contact with council officers to ensure they are safe and warm.

They have alarms directly linked to Linkline+ service which is available round-the-clock to report any heating issues or emergencies. The Linkline out of hours emergency service is on 020 8583 2222.

Councillor Katherine Dunne, cabinet member for housing at Hounslow Council, said: “We have plans in place to make sure we have support in place for those who may need it.

"Council officers are making contact with vulnerable tenants to ensure they are safe and warm and can deal with the expected snow and sub-zero temperatures.

"The Hounslow Street Outreach Team locates rough sleepers and supports them to get off the street and access essential services.

"As a council we are committed to help people who are most vulnerable during this severe weather.”

Brent Council

Saint Laurence's Larder is a charity in Brondesbury, NW6, which helps the homeless. Pic: Saint Laurence's Larder

There is emergency accommodation and support for rough sleepers in Brent.

The council is supporting Christ Church with St Laurence Brondesbury to provide a drop in centre for anyone struggling in the cold weather.

For more information and contact details please visit:

Westminster Council

Steve, 39, is one of Westminster's 217 rough sleepers(Image: PA)

Outreach workers are out on the streets in Westminster to ensure rough sleepers are placed into accommodation during sub-zero temperatures.

Up to 100 extra beds are being provided in temporary shelter in hostels with access to food and blankets.

Councillor Rachael Robathan, cabinet member for housing, said: “During the winter period it is important to have warm accommodation available to everyone in need, especially vulnerable rough sleepers.

"Our serious weather emergency protocol makes available many extra beds, along with a wide range of support, when the temperature drops below zero.

“Our outreach workers will be scouring Westminster to find every person sleeping rough in the cold, and working hard to persuade them to accept a warm bed."

Ealing Council

Ealing Churches Winter Night Shelter runs during the winter months offering beds for rough sleepers and those at risk of homelessness.

Residents in Ealing are being urged to be good neighbours and check on elderly and vulnerable people to make sure they are safe, warm and have essential supplies.

Ealing Healthy Homes is on hand for residents concerned about keeping their homes warm.

Additional support is also available for anyone struggling to pay their energy bills.

Call Ealing Healthy Homes on 0800 083 2265 between Monday to Friday, from 9.30am until 5.30pm.

Hammersmith and Fulham Council

Hammersmith and Fulham Council has activated its emergency severe weather plan and additional beds have been opened up across the borough for rough sleepers.

The council’s Street Outreach Response Team, provided by St Mungo’s, are carrying out additional patrols across the borough throughout the week to find rough sleepers and support them off the streets.

The Barons Court Project has extended its opening hours so that homeless people have a warm and comfortable place to go to during the day.

Rough sleepers can go there from 10:30am to 5pm, Monday to Friday this week.

Other helpful contacts

St Mungo's will use the proceeds of the sale to improve the care and help it offers to homeless people

St Mungo

St Mungo’s run the Mayor’s provision to support even more people inside when local provision is full, offering a hot shower, clean clothes, and hot food as well as an emergency bed, while staff work to find them more permanent options.

Rough sleepers are also actively encouraged to access local facilities that are open during the day and can be referred to additional daytime SWEP provision when daytime temperatures remain below zero.


If you are concerned about someone sleeping rough in the cold weather, report them to StreetLink online or call 0300 500 0914.

This service allows members of the public to alert local authorities and street outreach services about people sleeping rough and ensure help can be given quickly.

The information is sent to the local St Mungo’s outreach service, which is contracted by the council to contact and help rough sleepers.

People are urged to give as much information as possible about the location at which the person is sleeping.


In an emergency always call 999.

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