City to provide shelter in floods and storms
ROUGH sleepers in Gloucester will be given a bed for a night when extreme weather hits the city.
The city council’s cabinet approved the plans on Wednesday, after updating a policy which previously meant it offered emergency housing when temperatures were below zero for three consecutive nights, or hit -3C on a single night.
Rough sleepers will now also be sheltered if the Met Office announces a severe weather warning due to heavy rain, winds, snow and flooding.
The council said costs to provide rough sleepers shelter are expected to rise over the winter period, but added that it would be met within budget.
The policy that was reviewed, the Severe Weather Emergency Protocol (SWEP), offers rough sleepers accommodation during sub-zero temperatures or when weather warnings are issued.
The council would enforce SWEP the day before the weather warning takes effect or freezing temperature is expected.
In Gloucester SWEP accommodation providers include Newton House, the George Whitefield Centre, Taylor House, and Park View Court and accommodation is provided between November and March. Councillor Jennie Watkins, cabinet member for communities and neighbourhoods, said: “We will continue to do our best to engage those who are vulnerable and to support them to access help. I am incredibly grateful for the partnership work and passion across the sectors who make a real difference to people’s lives.
“By extending SWEP we are responding to feedback from our community to protect people during extreme weather and we are also able to take the opportunity to work with them to try and guide them into breaking the cycle of rough sleeping.”