When the weather turns really cold, there is an extra risk to anyone sleeping on the streets. We need to ensure that we are preventing as many winter deaths as possible, as unfortunately when the temperature drops and the wind and rain increases it poses a very real threat to the lives of those sleeping on the streets.
Throughout winter we monitor the weather and when we know it will present a threat, we implement SWEP, Severe Weather Emergency Provisions, at our night shelter on Manvers Street.
This mean we set up an additional 10 camp beds in the communal area of the shelter where people can come in and take rest bite from the cold during the night as well as having access to shower facilities and good meals.
Cecil Weir, the Julian House Fundraising Director, explains that the extra stretch on resources is nothing compared to the danger of sleeping out in such conditions –
“I spent a long times in the Army Reserves and know only too well what it’s like sleeping out in evil conditions. I had the benefit of great kit and it was still grim. For our clients surviving with a few blankets and maybe a damp ripped sleeping bag is life threatening. We therefore monitor the weather forecast carefully to see when things are going to get dangerous. It does make the building uncomfortably busy but that is infinitely preferable to our clients having to sleep outside. Likewise it is a bit of a stretch for the staff team but they have coped magnificently.”
We provide 30 beds as well as a drop-in centre and specialist joint outreach service in Bath for rough sleepers. SWEP means we are able to provide 40 bed places to street homeless individuals during the colder nights.
To find out more about how to access Manver’s Street click here.