There are currently no legal protections for people sleeping rough in England during severe weather. The provision of shelter is not a statutory duty, even when conditions are life threatening. However, there is a humanitarian obligation on local authorities to do all they can to prevent deaths on the streets and for their partners and the public to support these efforts.
Local areas should have adequate provision to prevent rough sleeping at any time of year however the winter period often presents the greatest risks to people’s health.
There is no single definition of severe weather. Any conditions that increase the risk of harm to people sleeping rough can be classed as severe. This includes extreme cold, wind, snow, rain and heat. SWEP operates outside usual eligibility and entitlement frameworks that govern access to housing. SWEP is accessible to everyone, including all those who may otherwise be excluded from services, people with no recourse to public funds, people who may have previously been banned, and those with no local connection.
Doncaster has a Severe Weather Emergency Protocol (SWEP) which opens during periods of severe weather, from November until March providing shelter to rough sleepers. Access to the provision is via St Leger Homes during the working day or via Doncaster Council out of hours service 01302 323444.
If you are concerned about an individual sleeping rough during severe weather please refer to Streetlink