Emergency beds for rough sleepers remain open tonight

Published: Monday, 4th February 2019

Oxford City Council has extended its Severe Weather Emergency Protocol (SWEP).

Emergency bed spaces will remain available for any rough sleeper until the morning of Tuesday 5 February, when the council and its local partners will review whether to keep SWEP open. SWEP bed spaces normally open on the first night of a Met Office forecast that the overnight temperature will drop to zero or below for three or more consecutive nights.

The street outreach team (OxSPOT) and homeless day services are telling potential rough sleepers that SWEP beds will remain open until Tuesday morning. Free kennelling is also available for rough sleepers with dogs, although kennels must be arranged with OxSPOT in advance.

Rough sleepers who want to access an emergency bed space need to present themselves at Homeless Oxfordshire’s O’Hanlon House between 9 pm and 9:30 pm every night that SWEP is open.

Councillor Linda Smith, Deputy Leader of Oxford City Council and Board Member for Leisure and Housing, said: “We’re keeping SWEP open for the eighth night running because of the subzero weather forecast tonight. We’ll review this tomorrow, though the forecast is currently for temperatures to rise and stay above freezing for the rest of the week.

“If you are concerned about a rough sleeper, you can contact OxSPOT on 01865 243229 to make a referral, or report them on the national StreetLink website or app. OxSPOT is not an emergency service, but it will follow up all calls as quickly as possible. If you think there is immediate danger to the health of a rough sleeper, please call 999 instead.”

More information about how the council operates SWEP is at www.oxford.gov.uk/swep.