PEOPLE across Coventry are being urged to know what to do when they see others sleeping rough – especially during severe weather.
This time of year, Coventry City Council operates a severe weather protocol (SWEP) when everyone and anyone regardless of status, previous history, and regardless of a local connection to the city can access accommodation on the night.
The council’s outreach team, which has grown over the past 18 months, know there are a few people who will not normally engage.
At this time extra efforts are being made to actively locate those in need and to make arrangements for them to access accommodation.
All local authorities trigger severe weather provision in line with individual local arrangements, taking into account Met Office yellow weather warnings where appropriate.
In Coventry the council and other agencies provide individuals with a safe place to stay and allow an intensive assessment of needs.
Coun David Welsh, Cabinet Member for Housing and Communities, said the council’s outreach team regularly talked to entrenched rough sleepers and worked really hard to persuade them to make use of accommodation that was available.
He said: “We increase our rough sleeper outreach team from three people to nine and the team is continuing to grow through additional funding and the creation of specialist roles to actively identify and support people who are street homeless and to help rough sleepers to stay in the accommodation that is available.
“We have a range of accommodation options to use to support people.
“If someone has got no home or friends or family to stay with and has no option but to rough sleep, the outreach team will look to engage them at the earliest opportunity.”
The outreach team and other agencies work from 6am when they conduct an outreach walk until 5pm. The Salvation Army is staffed 24/7 and if an individual presents they will be supported to call the out of hours provision.
Alongside the outreach team the council also has a housing and homeless prevention team ready to respond Monday to Friday 9am to 5pm. There contact number is 024 7683 4025.
Over Christmas the out of hours services will operate from 5pm on Christmas Eve (December 24) to 9am on Wednesday, December 29.
This service will also operate from 5pm on December 31 to 9am on January 4. The frontline homeless service will reopen at 9am on January 4.
When the team is not there an emergency on call system is in place so that the local authority can make arrangements to accommodate people who find themselves homeless on the night. This is further supplemented via a rough sleeping on call service during the winter months.
The public can let the team know of the whereabouts of someone rough sleeping by reporting here: www.streetlink.org.uk