As we head towards the winter months, councils across the country are getting ready for any severe weather spells.
Housing and homelessness departments have been busy revising their arrangements for Severe Weather Emergency Protocol, known for short as SWEP, to ensure their readiness for the colder months. Under this humanitarian response, when temperatures of 0°or lower are predicted to last a minimum of three nights, most councils offer additional bed spaces to anyone who is sleeping rough.
Reading is no different and since the summer months council officers have been working in partnership with local charities St Mungo’s, The Salvation Army and Launchpad Reading to ensure that this year’s provision runs well. As professionals there is a lot to consider, plan and prepare so that people rough sleeping in our borough have a clear pathway of access to our SWEP provision.
Here are the main things to know about SWEP in Reading:
SWEP is on/off
You can check whether SWEP is active on Street Support Reading’s main page. When it is active, there will be a clear website banner stating this.
Eligibility for a SWEP bed
Anyone who thinks that they will have to sleep rough on a night that SWEP is active is eligible – even if you are not eligible for any other assistance throughout the year.
Accessing a SWEP bed
You need to be assessed and referred into a SWEP bed. You will be refused entry if you just turn up. This is to ensure everyone’s safety.
You can be referred to a bed via:
- Mungo’s Rough Sleeper Outreach Service – 0118 958 5002 or ReadingRSOS@mungos.org
- Reading Borough Council Homelessness Prevention Service – 0118 937 2165 or firstname.lastname@example.org or visit the council’s offices on Bridge Street between 9am -5pm
- Out of Hours (from 5:30pm) please call Reading’s Emergency Duty Service on 01344 786 543
Willow House Lifehouse, The Salvation Army, Willow Street, RG1 6AB
- Foldaway bed, including bedding and covers, for the duration of SWEP (minimum of three nights)
- Hot drink on arrival and access to drinking water
- Hot cooked breakfast in the morning
- Access to a shower in the morning and free toiletries
- Access to support to move away from streets
You are expected to treat everyone with respect, not to use any illegal substances or alcohol whilst in the building and engage with your support or reconnection offer.