In response to the current cold snap, Southampton City Council has implemented its emergency weather plans to provide support for rough sleepers in the city. The Severe Weather Emergency Protocol (SWEP) was activated on Tuesday, January 9, and will remain in effect until Thursday, January 11, at 9 am, pending a review by the council.
To address the challenges posed by the cold weather, the council is not only offering additional emergency spaces for rough sleepers but is also intensifying its outreach efforts to locate those in need. The street homeless prevention team is actively engaging with individuals on the streets, encouraging them to accept help and providing information about available resources.
In addition to these measures, the council is reaching out to the public, offering guidance on how residents can contribute to supporting rough sleepers during this challenging period. Here are five recommended ways for the community to get involved:
- Report Your Concerns: If you come across a rough sleeper and have concerns about their well-being, the council encourages residents to share information by emailing firstname.lastname@example.org. Providing details such as a description of the person and the location and time of the sighting can be helpful. In emergencies where someone is unwell or distressed, it is advised to call 999 and not approach the individual.
- Encourage Rough Sleepers to Visit the Day Centre: The council urges those in need of emergency shelter to visit the Homeless Day Centre at 30 Cranbury Avenue, Southampton SO14 0LT. Open daily from 10 am to 2 pm, the center offers facilities for showering, laundry use, hot meals, access to IT equipment, and health advice.
- Give Responsibly: While many people prefer donating to established charities to ensure their contribution directly aids the homeless, the council suggests alternative ways to help. Residents can offer a hot drink or food to those in need or simply engage in conversation to provide companionship.
- Volunteering: Individuals looking to make a more significant impact in assisting rough sleepers are encouraged to explore volunteering opportunities. Street Support provides valuable information and advice about volunteering, allowing residents to actively participate in supporting the community.
- Change The Way You Give: Southampton City Council introduces the “Change The Way You Give” initiative, allowing people to support rough sleepers through donations on GoFundMe. Contributions go directly to local charities, including Two Saints, No Limits, and Society of St James, ensuring that the funds are allocated to aid those in need.
As the SWEP remains active until Thursday, January 11, at 9 am, Southampton City Council emphasizes the importance of community involvement in safeguarding the well-being of rough sleepers during this period of extreme weather. The council remains committed to reviewing and adjusting its measures as necessary to address the ongoing challenges faced by the homeless population in the city. Residents are encouraged to stay informed and actively participate in the collective effort to provide support and assistance to those in need.