Severe weather support for rough sleepers is underway

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With temperatures currently dropping below 0°C (Celsius), Watford Borough Council has activated its Severe Weather Emergency Provision (SWEP)...

With temperatures currently dropping below 0°C (Celsius), Watford Borough Council has activated its Severe Weather Emergency Provision (SWEP) to provide temporary shelter for rough sleepers in the town in partnership with homelessness charity partners New Hope and One YMCA.

Whatever the weather, every night until 31 March 2023 people in need will be provided with food and shelter in New Hope’s Sanctuary Emergency Accommodation, and at One YMCA’s Charter Place Hostel right through the winter months.

If the temperature does fall below 0°C, then SWEP will be specifically called, but the accommodation is available throughout. SWEP is activated when there is severe weather and is designed to prevent deaths or serious illness on the streets during periods of particularly difficult conditions.

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Elected Mayor of Watford, Peter Taylor, said: “We provide support for rough sleepers all year round and our commitment to end rough sleeping altogether in the borough remains a key priority.

"This emergency action will mean that there will be accommodation in place free of charge for people sleeping rough in town. I am pleased that we have been able to work with New Hope and One YMCA to provide this much needed support, which will ensure that no one is sleeping rough in Watford this winter.”

Chief Executive Officer of New Hope, Matthew Heasman, said: “New Hope services will help with people’s immediate needs, but also allows us to keep people safe until plans can be put in place to try and prevent people from returning to rough sleeping.”

Chief Executive Officer of One YMCA, Guy Foxell, said: “This service not only provides a bed for the night, but also offers kindness and understanding, which is so important especially at this time of year. We will continue to do everything we can to support those sleeping rough in our town.”

If you do see someone sleeping rough, please call New Hope’s 24/7 helpline 0300 012 0168 or report their position with the Streetlink app on your mobile phone. You can also find out more at and

Published: 14th December 2022

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