Working with local homelessness charity New Hope, Watford Borough Council upgraded the town’s cold weather shelter programme this winter
Working with local homelessness charity New Hope, Watford Borough Council upgraded the town’s cold weather shelter programme this winter.
The pilot initiative, called SWEP+, expands on Severe Weather Emergency Protocol (SWEP). This comes into effect every winter, ensuring shelter is provided for people who are sleeping rough in Watford when temperatures dip below zero. But this winter, the council and New Hope are going the extra mile and providing shelter for homeless people every single night until the end of March, no matter what the temperature.
Since SWEP+ started in December 2018 42 different individuals have come to the night shelter. As a direct result of SWEP+ five rough sleepers have moved into accommodation and away from the streets.
Elected Mayor of Watford Peter Taylor said: “Since we introduced SWEP+ in December, the council and our partners, including New Hope, St Mary’s Church, Wellspring Church and YMCA, are continuing to work hard to help those who are sleeping rough in Watford this winter. This service not only provides a bed for the night, but also access to the fantastic services that New Hope provides. We will continue to do everything we can to support those sleeping rough in our town.”
Chief Executive of New Hope Matthew Heasman said: “SWEP+ has enabled many vulnerable individuals to sleep somewhere warm, safe and dry and to take positive steps forward. It’s been a real community effort with local charities, the Council and town centre churches involved. Over 60 people have volunteered from all walks of life – local politicians and church leaders as well as people who have had personal experience of rough sleeping.”
The council launched a campaign last summer highlighting how donations to homeless charities can change lives. Two short films show that donating directly to local charities rather than people on the street can have a bigger impact. Watch the films and find out more at watford.gov.uk/sparechange
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.