Council activates ‘severe weather’ protocol
Following a week of cold weather and increasingly harsh conditions, the council has triggered its severe weather emergency protocol (SWEP) to offer extra support to homeless people during these conditions.
A North East Lincolnshire Council spokesperson confirmed that SWEP was activated on December 7, and local authorities will trigger this when temperatures fall below 0°C for three nights in a row.
A cold weather shelter is made available for rough sleepers at Harbour Place in Hope Street, Grimsby.
A Met Office yellow weather warning for snow and ice is in place over Grimsby, Immingham, Scunthorpe, and Hull until at least midday on Wednesday, December 14.
The council spokesperson said: “We work closely with the Harbour Place outreach team continuously to identify and confirm the numbers of rough sleepers bedding down on our streets and to offer them the right support to get them back on their feet.
“During severe cold weather spells the Council arrange placements for those rough sleepers identified during street outreach to safeguard them from the increased risk of death and serious injury.
“Some rough sleepers will not engage with the services available to them but cold weather equipment such as blankets and clothing will be offered to them. Harbour Place’s street outreach team will continue to visit them and check their welfare and ask if they will reconsider the accommodation offer. We also work with mental health practitioners, We Are With You, and other support services.”
After SWEP is activated, a homeless person can register between 10 am and 1 pm and they will be provided with a place at one of the YMCA, Salvation Army, and Harbour Place.
Beds at the YMCA, Salvation Army, and Hope Street night shelters may be available from 9 pm.
Anyone who turns up at 9 pm under the influence of alcohol and/or substances will have their place cancelled, and may also be lost due to significant violent or abusive behaviour towards staff.
Once a person has registered during SWEP, they do not have to do it again. The placement ends at 8 am each morning and a homeless person will have to leave. They will only be allowed back in at 9 pm.
The homelessness prevention service at Harbour Place will also assess an individual’s circumstances and can help a person find more permanent accommodation.
North Lincolnshire Council’s current homeless and rough sleep strategy published in November 2020 has the target of no rough sleepers by 2027, in line with the government’s aim, stating: “We have committed to review this procedure annually and make continual improvements to ensure that the SWEP provision moving forward should be continuously activated from November through to March”.