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Appeal To Help Identify Rough Sleepers In Freezing Weather

Published on: 12 Dec, 2017
Updated on: 14 Dec, 2017

Riverside Care and Support Team (HOST)

Guildford residents are being urged to help a local charity offer emergency shelter to rough sleepers in freezing weather this winter.

The Homeless Outreach and Support Team (HOST), is run by Riverside Care and Support and provides help and assistance to rough sleepers and people at risk of homelessness in the town.

HOST working in partnership with local homeless providers, tracks down rough sleepers and offers them emergency accommodation and supporting them while arrangements are made for them to come off the streets.

Funded by Guildford Borough Council, the service works in partnership with local agencies to source emergency shelter for those that need it when Severe Weather Emergency Provision (SWEP) comes into force when the Met Office forecasts three nights or more when temperatures drop to zero degrees Celsius or below. SWEP also operates beyond this criteria if weather conditions are severe.

Ketan Patel, Riverside Care and Support Area Manager for Guildford, said: “Sleeping on the streets can cause all sorts of health issues especially during winter such as pneumonia and hyperthermia.

“So we are appealing to people in Guildford to get in touch with us in severe weather so we can help rough sleepers on the streets and find them a warm place for the night.

“There are many reasons why people become homeless and get entrenched in to sleeping rough. While every effort is made to ensure that no-one rough sleeps during severe weather people do sometimes choose not to accept our offer of accommodation and choose to sleep rough.

“However we do have an active team of support workers who work hard to try and break that cycle by going out all year round, speaking to vulnerable rough sleepers, and over time, slowly building up a relationship of trust to support them off the streets and in to accommodation.

“Emergency accommodation is accessible to anyone, including people who aren’t eligible for services and not receiving benefit.”

A charity spokesperson said: “Guildford residents are urged to help keep rough sleepers safe and warm. If you see a person that may be sleeping roughby calling the HOST team on 01483 302495 or email during severe weather conditions so that assistance can be offered.”

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