Home Business News Mayor activates emergency severe weather plan for first time this winter to protect homeless Londoners

Mayor activates emergency severe weather plan for first time this winter to protect homeless Londoners

by LLB political Reporter
29th Nov 23 11:44 am

The Mayor of London, Sadiq Khan, has today activated the pan-London Severe Weather Emergency Protocol (SWEP) to protect homeless people as temperatures are forecast to fall below 0°C tonight.

This is the first SWEP activation of the winter and will ensure that councils across London, alongside homelessness charities, open additional emergency accommodation for people who are sleeping rough during weather conditions that could pose a threat to life.

All boroughs in London have committed to the Mayor’s ‘In for Good’ principle, which means no one will be asked to leave accommodation until a support plan is in place to end their rough sleeping, regardless of an increase in temperature.

SWEP was active for 28 nights last winter. During these periods 1,350 people were helped off the streets.

The latest ‘snapshot’ Government figures, published earlier this year, showed rough sleeping has increased in every region of England year-on-year, including in London. In total during the period July-September 2023 outreach teams recorded 4068 individuals sleeping rough in the capital. This is a 12 per cent increase on the total figure for July-September 2022 (1).  The Mayor’s rough sleeping services are helping more people than ever before, with more than 16,000 rough sleepers supported off the streets since 2016.

In response to the housing crisis and the soaring cost of living the Mayor has repeatedly called on Ministers to immediately freeze private sector rents and reinstate the social security net which prevents people becoming homeless. He’s also calling on Government to deliver their long-promised reforms to the Private Rented Sector, including ending Section 21 evictions and to suspend the No Recourse to Public Funds (NRPF) condition, which puts many people with NRPF status at serious risk of destitution and homelessness.

The Mayor of London, Sadiq Khan said:  “As winter approaches, Londoners once again stand ready to help the most vulnerable in our society. With temperatures dropping below zero across the capital I’ve activated my Severe Weather Emergency Protocol to make sure anyone seen sleeping rough in these freezing conditions is offered a place in emergency accommodation and the support to move on to the safe, secure accommodation they need.

“For many Londoners struggling to pay soaring rents and a cost-of-living-crisis, this winter will feel longer and colder than ever. We know that these factors are forcing more people onto the streets, it is imperative that ministers stop turning a blind eye to this crisis and start taking action to ensure people can afford to stay in their homes.

“Since 2016, we’ve quadrupled funding and support to tackle homelessness, helping over 16,000 rough sleepers off the streets, but there’s much more to do. London’s councils and charities will be working even harder this week to support some of the most vulnerable people in our city. On behalf of all Londoners I thank them for their tireless efforts.”

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