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Mayor activates emergency severe weather plan for first time this winter to protect homeless Londoners

  • November 30, 2023
  • 2 min read
Mayor activates emergency severe weather plan for first time this winter to protect homeless Londoners

Mayor of London Sadiq Khan has activated the pan-London Severe Weather Emergency Protocol (SWEP) to protect homeless people as temperatures are forecast to drop below 0°C. This marks the first time SWEP was activated this winter and will ensure that councils across the capital will, along with homeless charities, open up emergency accommodation for those sleeping rough during the potentially life-threatening weather conditions.

All boroughs in the capital have committed to the mayor’s “In for Good” principle that ensures nobody will be asked to leave any accommodation unless a support plan is in place to end their rough sleeping, regardless of any increase in temperature.

Last winter, SWEP was active for 28 nights, during which, 1,350 people were helped off the streets. The latest snapshot figures published earlier this year from the government shows that the number of rough sleeping has increased in every region in England, including in London.

In total, during the period from July to September 2023, outreach teams recorded 4,068 individuals sleeping rough in the capital, marking a 12% increase on the total figures for the same period in 2022.

The mayor’s rough sleeping services are helping more people than ever before as over 16,000 rough sleepers have been “supported off the streets” since 2016.

Responding to the housing crisis and soaring cost of living, the mayor has repeatedly called on ministers to immediately freeze private sector rent and reinstate the social security net which would prevent people from becoming homeless. He has also called on the government to deliver on its long-promised reforms to the Private Rented Sector, including ending Section 21 evictions and suspend the No Recourse to Public Funds (NRPF) condition which has put many people at serious risk of destitution and homelessness.

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