An emergency protocol to ‘prevent homeless people from dying on the streets’ has already seen this year’s figures overtake the emergency beds needed for the whole of last year.
The severe weather emergency protocol provision (SWEP) is normally triggered when the temperature has been forecast at zero degrees or below for three consecutive days.
Homeless Charity Stonepillow is an organisation that currently provides the SWEP provision for Arun District Council at a hostel in Bognor Regis.
And this year has already seen a dramatic increase in the number of emergency beds needed.
Stonepillow CEO Geoffrey Willis said: “SWEP prevents people dying of cold on our streets.
“As the local homeless charity, Stonepillow is proud to work with the councils in offering this extra service in Arun.
“This year, with the dramatic increase in numbers of homeless and a brutal spell of cold weather, we’ve seen record numbers turning up at our Bognor hostel.”
Geoffrey added: “Thanks to all who support us to deliver this life-saving work.”
The valuable emergency provision aims to prevent anybody from rough sleeping within the district when the weather is particularly cold.
In 2017 so far, Stonepillow has provided SWEP for a total of 13 nights and has supplied a total of 70 emergency beds, in conjunction with Arun District Council.
A spokesperson from Stonepillow said this is a ‘marked increase’ compared to 2016, when in the whole year SWEP was offered on ten nights with a total provision of 11 emergency beds over the year.
In Chichester, the district council has provided accommodation for six rough sleepers between January 12 and 15.
During the freezing conditions, two flats within the Chichester District Council owned temporary accommodation are set aside for SWEP.
For more details about the services that Stonepillow offers, you can visit www.stonepillow.org.uk.