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Cold weather triggers extra help for rough sleepers in and around Norwich

Snow in Norwich. 
Picture: ANTONY KELLY

Snow in Norwich. Picture: ANTONY KELLY

Archant Norfolk 2018

A procedure to help rough sleepers in to the city during freezing temperatures has been activated.

A procedure to help rough sleepers in and around Norwich during freezing temperatures has been activated.

Organised and coordinated by Norwich City Council and covering the city, Broadland and South Norfolk, the Severe Weather Emergency Procedure (SWEP) is implemented if the forecast states temperatures will drop below zero degrees for three consecutive nights.

It has been in place in Norwich since last week and means between 13 and 15 extra beds are available each night.

Jane Sheldon, chief executive officer at of St Martins Housing, said: “An outreach team goes out three or four times a week to let rough sleepers know about our services, not just when SWEP is activated.

“It involves many different groups so for example people who may be having breakfast at Arc on Pottergate, run by the Salvation Army, they will be informed that SWEP is in place.”

A spokeswoman for Norwich City Council said: “As well as our work with partners all year round to engage with rough sleepers, SWEP arrangements came into place last Friday and are expected to remain until this Friday.

“A number of beds are available within supported accommodation such as hostels, with alternative options in place if these become full.

“Since Friday, no one has been refused emergency accommodation, but not everyone who was offered it went on to use it.”

Anyone who encounters people who are homeless and rough sleeping is urged to notify the city council by emailing roughsleepers@norwich.gov.uk

For emergency assistance with finding accommodation call 0344 980 33 33.

A website called Street Link allows anyone to alert local authorities and charities in England to rough sleepers in their area.

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