Rough sleeping is a national issue. Locally Gosport Borough Council and partners are proactively supporting rough sleepers in the Borough in a number of ways.
Gosport Council works to support and engage with rough sleepers to help them find accommodation and address barriers which may be preventing them from accessing it. The Council and other agencies carry out regular health and wellbeing checks for rough sleepers and also provide information on the help available, although not all choose to take up this support.
The council offers extra support for rough sleepers in the extreme cold weather:
- The Severe Weather Emergency Protocol (SWEP) is instigated locally during periods of cold or extreme weather. This is usually when temperatures fall below zero for 3 consecutive days or more as well as during prolonged periods of extreme weather like snow and/or rain. The wind chill factor is also taken into account. SWEP operates outside usual eligibility and entitlement framework that governs access to housing. This means shelter is accessible to everyone in severe weather conditions and rough sleepers are placed in either Bed & Breakfasts, hostels or a night shelter. When a person is placed under SWEP the Council uses this as an opportunity to try and engage with them to look at sustainable accommodation and provide support to access alternative accommodation.
- Unfortunately not all rough sleepers take up the offer of a placement, but to keep them as safe as possible, they are provided with sleeping bags, hats, gloves, hot food vouchers, hand warmers and a bus pass vouchers in case they change their mind and want to travel to the night shelter.
- The Council’s priority regarding rough sleepers in severe weather is to reduce the risk of immediate harm and works with other agencies and rough sleepers to achieve this.
If you are concerned about an individual rough sleeping please report your concerns via Street Link https://www.streetlink.org.uk/