Emergency shelter available to rough sleepers in freezing weather

Rough sleepers across the country can access emergency shelter in freezing weather this winter.

Riverside Care and Support is offering places to stay so people sleeping on the streets have a place to go that’s warm and dry when temperatures plummet.

Emergency shelter is available when what’s known as Severe Weather Emergency Provision (SWEP) comes in to force and the Met Office forecasts three nights or more when temperatures drop to zero degrees Celsius or below.



Shelter can be accessed through the referrals which operate in towns and cities across the country.

Among Riverside’s many schemes and services that provide shelter during severe winter weather are:

  • Wigan’s Railway Road scheme which is open all year round to provide two emergency accommodation places.
  • In Manchester ‘sit-up’ provision at Brydon Court, Newbury House, The Beeches and the 394 hostel offer 10 emergency spaces.
  • An outreach service in Guildford called HOST works in partnership with other homeless providers to find shelter in severe weather conditions during the winter months.
  • Beck House in Enfield provides emergency accommodation all year round as part of the ‘No Second Night Out’ scheme.
  • Riverside’s outreach team in Wakefield is working with Wakefield Baptist Church to refer rough sleepers there to shelter from the cold. The team also holds drop-in sessions to help people without a home to get off the streets.
  • The Victoria Project in Cambridge provides three bed spaces during severe weather as a part of the city-wide cold weather provision.
  • In Doncaster there are eight emergency beds at Wharf House and Open House Plus.

Cath McAndry, Riverside’s Director of Operations for Care and Support, said: “Sleeping on the streets can cause all sorts of health issues especially during winter such as pneumonia and hyperthermia. We want to help find people who are homeless a warm place for the night.

“There are many reasons why people become homeless and get entrenched in to sleeping rough.

“We do have active teams of support workers across the country who work hard to try and break that cycle by going out all year round speaking to entrenched rough sleepers, and over time they slowly build up a relationship of trust to help get them off the streets and in to accommodation.”