As the ‘beast from the east’ hits Britain with freezing temperatures and snow, Lancaster City Council’s dedicated homeless team is urging people to get in touch if they spot anyone sleeping rough in the area so they can be brought in from the cold.
The call comes following the triggering of SWEP (Severe Weather Emergency Protocol) which comes into effect when the night time temperature is predicted to be zero degree celsius, according to the Met Office.
A dedicated team of city council staff are on standby 24/7 to respond to alerts and offer on the spot support and advice as well as making arrangements to get them off the street at whatever the time of day or night and into temporary accommodation during periods of sub-zero temperatures.
Although some rough sleepers are already known to the team, there can be others new to the district which remain unnoticed, bedding down at different times of day or night, and moving from place to place.
Coun Andrew Warriner, Cabinet member with responsibility for health and housing, said: “Although we don’t have the number of rough sleepers you might see in other towns and cities but one is one too many, the council remains committed to ensuring no-one on its patch spends a second night out on the street. In time, this way of living can lead to people becoming victims of crime, developing drug or alcohol problems and in minus temperatures could lead to illness and even death.
“If you’re concerned about someone sleeping rough, the best thing you can do is to report what you have seen to Street Link so that our specialist team of staff can bring them in out of the cold and connect them to other local services which can get them back on their feet.“
During extreme weather conditions you can call the council’s homeless team direct during normal office working hours (9am-5pm) on 01524 582257. In the evenings and weekends you can call Lancaster City Council’s out of hours service tel. 01524 67099.
Alternatively you can contact StreetLink by telephoning the 24/7 StreetLink phone line 0300 500 0914 or report your concerns using the StreetLink website www.streetlink.org.uk The Street Link scheme is a service that enables the public to alert local authorities in England about rough sleepers in their area.
Issued by: Cath Gillin on 01524 582044 or Cath Gillin@lancaster.gov.uk