As the weather is turning colder with the winter months, Southampton City Council has released information on what they are doing to help rough sleepers who are particularly vulnerable at this time of year.
In addition to the usual spaces for rough sleepers that the council and their partners provide, ‘extra emergency accommodation’ is in place for those seeking help, although they recognise that they have not formally met the official government criteria for the Severe Weather Emergency Protocol (SWEP).
As well as the extra accommodation, there are extra beds in the city’s main homeless hostels during periods of extremely cold weather, with the council claiming they have ‘sufficient’ spaces for those seeking help.
The Street Homeless Prevention Team will also be carrying out more work this winter to locate rough sleepers and encourage them to take up the offers of help provided to them.
People in need of emergency shelter can seek help at 30 Cranbury Avenue, Southampton SO14 0LT, where they can gain access to showers, laundries, hot meals, IT equipment and health advice from medical professionals.
The council has also given about what you can do to help, namely by getting in contact with the Street Homeless Prevention Team via email or at 023 8083 2343 if you’re concerned about someone sleeping on the streets, giving relevant information about them such as their approximate age and where/when you last saw them.
If you see someone unwell or in distress, the council recommends you call 999 and not to approach someone acting strangely, even to help.
They also suggest donating to charities, buying hot food or drink, or simply stopping to chat with someone homeless if you are uncomfortable with giving a rough sleeper money directly.
If you are interested in volunteering to help, you can do so at the Street Support website, where there is much information and advice about volunteering.