People

Council keeps emergency beds open for rough sleepers as freezing overnight temperatures continue

By Sarah Edwards

As freezing overnight temperatures are forecast to continue this week, Oxford City Council has extended its Severe Weather Emergency Protocol (SWEP) for rough sleepers.

This means that extra bed spaces will remain available for rough sleepers in Oxford from tonight until the morning of Friday 2 March.

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 wants to come inside during freezing weather.

The council activated SWEP on Thursday (22 February) in consultation with key local partners St Mungo’s and Homeless Oxfordshire.

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 remain open until Friday morning in the first instance.

The council, St Mungo’s and Homeless Oxfordshire will keep the situation under review.

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.

Rough sleepers or people concerned about someone sleeping rough can contact Oxford SPOT on 01865 304611 to make a referral. This is not an emergency line but calls will be followed up as soon as possible. Oxford SPOT can also be contacted via email at outreach.oxford@mungosbroadway.org.uk.

Referrals for Oxford SPOT can also be made through the 24 hour national StreetLink service at www.streetlink.org.uk or by using the StreetLink app.

Anyone who believes there is immediate danger to the health of a rough sleeper should call 999.