We know a lot of people become concerned for rough sleepers when the weather turns harsher and colder.

And a lot of people want to know what we do to ensure there’s proper shelter in place for homeless service users, and support from the right services.

That’s why we have our Severe Weather Emergency Protocol – or SWEP.

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What is the SWEP, and how does it work?

The SWEP is triggered whenever we spot below zero temperatures are on the way.

And that estimate of temperature includes wind chill factor – what’s commonly known as the “feels like” temperature.

Temperatures are monitored every day, with temperatures looked at for the following three days – so we can trigger the SWEP early if we know poor temperatures are coming.

Once the SWEP is triggered, our outreach workers will do everything they can to get the message out to known service users who are sleeping rough, or visit areas where we know people are sleeping rough.

We would also get the information out via our social media profiles, and other organisations such as The Wallich and Clwyd Alyn.

Our housing options team will then try to accommodate all those rough sleepers who ask for help by directing them to Tŷ Nos, the night shelter run by Clwyd Alyn.

Even if they can’t stay at Tŷ Nos – for example, if all of the beds are already full – staff there will advise them where else they can go.

That might include St John’s Church, which is currently offering a night shelter service by The Wallich, or a pilot led by Housing Justice Cymru. Or they might be sent to an alternative venue, and we would arrange transport.

We’d then get in touch with service users the following morning for a further assessment, and to see if they can be referred to other services for further support.

Some service users might not be accepted – for example, if they have a history of abuse towards service staff.

But we’d still encourage them to get the support they need, and find help for them where it’s available.

How can I help?

If you have concerns about someone sleeping rough, you can visit the StreetLink website, or download their app.

StreetLink is an easy to use site which allows users to alert agencies of people who might be sleeping rough, just by providing a few key details, which are then sent to local authorities or outreach services.

Alternatively, you can also get in touch with our housing options team during office hours on 01978 292947, or the out-of-hours homelessness service on 01978 264240.

Any one of these options will make our teams of aware of those people who might need our help.

Of course, in an emergency, you should call the service needed on 999.

If you want to donate, items such as sleeping bags and blankets can be donated at The Foyer, on Crescent Road.

Even if the SWEP hasn’t been activated, Tŷ Nos will provide support and items such as gloves, blankets, sleeping bags and hot drinks when available to all those who approach the shelter for help.

“Services and agencies will do everything they can”

Cllr David Griffiths, Lead Member for Housing, said: “We, alongside our partner services and agencies, will do everything we can to make sure people get the support they need during the winter.

“We know this is an issue which is very close to people’s hearts, and teams within our housing department work tirelessly throughout the winter months to get help to those who need it.”

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