As sub-zero overnight temperatures are forecast for Oxfordshire in the next week, Oxford City Council has activated its Severe Weather Emergency Protocol (SWEP) for rough sleepers.
This means that the council and local homelessness organisations will make extra bed spaces available for rough sleepers in the city from Sunday 4 February. Extra SWEP beds will be open until Tuesday night in the first instance, with continuing provision to be reviewed on Wednesday 7 February.
SWEP bed spaces open on the first night of a period when the Met Office forecasts the temperature will fall to zero or below on three or more consecutive nights. When SWEP is activated, emergency accommodation is available for anyone who would otherwise be sleeping rough on the night – even if they would not usually be eligible for the city’s adult homeless pathway.
The council operates SWEP under guidance from Homeless Link, and in consultation with key local partners St Mungo’s and Homeless Oxfordshire. The council has alerted The Porch, A2Dominion and other providers that work alongside St Mungo’s and Homeless Oxfordshire that SWEP is activated from Sunday night.
The Oxford Street Population Outreach Team (Oxford SPOT), which is run by St Mungo’s and based at Homeless Oxfordshire’s O’Hanlon House, will tell potential rough sleepers that SWEP beds will be made available from Sunday night until Tuesday night in the first instance. Rough sleepers who want to access SWEP accommodation need to present themselves at O’Hanlon House between 9 pm and 9:30 pm every night that beds are available.