Tuesday, 4 January 2011

How effective has SWEP provision been?

Most of the country has been affected by the cold weather over the last several weeks and as a result many local authorities have set up SWEP (Severe Weather Emergency Protocols) to accommodate rough sleepers.The quality of accommodation can vary dramatically depending on the location. Local authorities have different services available and accommodation can range from purposely set up cold weather shelters, Bed and Breakfast accommodation, crash beds in hostels to a space on the floor of a hostel.
Has this SWEP provision been used by genuine rough sleepers and does it reflect homeless statistics and street count results, or are we finding more rough sleepers than we initially thought?

1 comment:

  1. From my experience over this Christmas period, SWEP has been very beneficial for the rough sleepers my colleagues and I work with.
    Several of our entrenched rough sleepers began accessing SWEP for a few nights and then went on to move into hostels, where they continue to be. Until this time they had continually refused all offers of accommodation in hostels.
    I found the most frustrating aspects of SWEP, to be the way it was determined each day. It was only available if the temperature was below zero degrees, for three consecutive nights. So if there was only one very cold night, then the rough sleepers had to stay out. Does it take more than one night exposed to freezing temperatures to get hypothermia?
    The other aspect that was frustrating was that every time a new block of SWEP was offered, all the housing benefit forms had to completed again. This was more about staffing and the amount of time it would take to complete these forms.