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Help available for the vulnerable this winter

Extra beds available for street homeless people in Southampton during cold weather

The Met Office has issued a level 3 (severe weather action) cold weather warning for the period 0900 on Thursday 07 Dec and 0600 on Wednesday 13 December in parts of England including Southampton.

For the majority of people, taking a few simple precautions and following guidance from the NHS will ensure that they are safe and warm during cold weather. But for the most vulnerable people in the city the cold can cause serious and sometimes life-threatening problems.

Southampton City Council, working with Two Saints, Society of St James and the Salvation Army, has made extra beds available for rough sleepers for the duration of the cold winter weather until the end of January. This is an extension of the provision and support made available all year round by the Street Homeless Prevention team at the council.

Outreach staff have been actively engaging with rough sleepers to encourage them to take up this offer and checking with them on a daily basis. The team will also be working to help people into longer term accommodation solutions and to enrol them on support programmes.

Cllr Dave Shields, Cabinet Member for Health & Community Safety at Southampton City Council, said:

“As the cold weather bites I urge everyone to look out for their most vulnerable neighbours, friends and families to ensure they stay warm and well. It’s great news that we’ve managed to secure this extra provision for anyone sleeping rough during the cold weather and I know our teams will be working hard to get people to take up the offer. 

“If you have any concerns over someone sleeping on the streets, then you should report your concern via StreetLink in the first instance on 03005000914 or email them on info@streetlink.org.uk. This is a national service for reporting street sleepers and is easy to use. You can also contact our Street Homelessness Team direct by emailing your concerns for any rough sleeper via streethomeless@southampton.gov.uk or visiting the Street Homelessness Prevention web page which provides full details of services to help rough sleepers including local charities that both give and receive help for the homeless." 

The cold weather can also be dangerous for the elderly, people with long term health conditions, pregnant women and young children.

If you are worried about keeping your home warm this winter you can contact Southampton Healthy Homes for support and guidance. If you would like to find out more about the service, or would like to refer a family member, neighbour or client, you can contact the Environment Centre (tEC) on Freephone 0800 804 8601 (Mon-Fri 9-5) or email keepwarm@environmentcentre.com.

Follow these tips from the NHS to keep you and your family warm and well at home this winter:

• if you're not very mobile, are 65 or over, or have a health condition, such as heart or lung disease, heat your home to at least 18C (65F)
• keep your bedroom at 18C all night if you can – and keep the bedroom window closed
• during the day you may prefer your living room to be slightly warmer than 18C
• to reduce the risk of sudden infant death syndrome (SIDS), babies should sleep in rooms heated to between 16C and 20C
• if you're under 65, healthy and active, you can safely have your home cooler than 18C, if you're comfortable
• draw curtains at dusk and keep doors closed to block out draughts
• get your heating system checked regularly by a qualified professional

Stay Well This Winter