Information from WBC:
On 1 November 2019, West Berkshire Council’s Winter Plan was put in place in readiness to support single people and childless couples who are sleeping rough or at risk of sleeping rough with a warm place to stay. The Winter Plan also ensures that the council is ready to activate the Severe Weather Emergency Protocol, (SWEP) when temperatures are forecast to be below freezing conditions for 3 consecutive days.
It will help the most vulnerable homeless single people who have a local connection to the district to have the support they need during extreme cold weather and to be able to access warm, safe accommodation at Two Saints as well as wider support and advice.
When SWEP is activated, non-residents who are at risk of sleeping rough will also receive support.
The Winter Plan is the plan of action developed by The Homelessness Strategy Group over the last year.
Voluntary groups and charities including West Berkshire Homeless, Loose Ends, Eight Bells and the Newbury Soup Kitchen will join forces to focus their efforts to support the work of Two Saints and ensure that rough sleepers receive the help they need to help them back to independence and a home.
Hilary Cole, West Berkshire’s Executive Member for Housing and Homelessness said: “We can all do something to help tackle local issues around rough sleeping and homelessness. To be effective, we must all be a part of the solution and the ongoing collaborative approach taken by our partners makes us more able to help more people.
“The council works all year round to reduce homelessness and support people who sleep rough. We’re absolutely committed to ensuring that no one has to sleep outside; it is one of our priorities.
“This becomes even more important when it is extremely cold. People become homeless for many reasons but when they do it’s important they know that help is available to get them back on their feet. When SWEP is activated it will remain active for as long as necessary to make sure that all rough sleepers who need a warm, safe place are found somewhere to stay.”
Supporting rough sleepers during adverse weather is part of a much broader programme of activity to tackle homelessness in the district. West Berkshire Council’s housing team works alongside a number of local partners year-round to prevent people becoming homeless in the first place as well as offering help and support when it does occur – including through its ‘No Second Night Out’ policy to help people find emergency accommodation.
Anyone at risk of sleeping rough on the streets should go to West Berkshire Council’s offices in Market Street, Newbury for support. Anyone who becomes homeless when the offices are closed should contact the council’s Emergency Duty Team on 01344 786543.
People can also tell Streetlink. StreetLink exists to help end rough sleeping by enabling members of the public to connect people sleeping rough with the local services that can support them.
If you are concerned about someone over the age of 18 that you have seen sleeping rough in England or Wales, you can send an alert to StreetLink via their website.
The details you provide are sent to the local authority or outreach service for the area to help them find the individual and connect them to support. If you think the person you are concerned about is under 18 please do not contact StreetLink but instead call the police.