Severe weather emergency protocol (SWEP)

The severe weather emergency protocol (SWEP) aims to prevent rough sleeping during extreme cold weather. When night-time temperatures go below zero SWEP provides emergency accommodation for rough sleepers.


Is there a duty to have a SWEP?

During periods of extreme cold housing authorities must provide facilities for rough sleepers. This is to prevent deaths as a result of weather conditions.


Who are rough sleepers?

Rough sleepers are:

People sleeping in the open air.

People about to bed down (sitting on/in or standing next to their bedding) in the open air.

People actually bedded down (such as on the streets, in tents, doorways, parks, bus shelters or encampments).


Who are not rough sleepers?

People in hostels or shelters.

People in campsites or other sites used for recreational purposes.

People in organised protest, squatters or travellers.


When does the SWEP come into place?

If night time temperatures are going to be zero degrees or below for three consecutive nights SWEP must intervene.


Who keeps a check on the temperature?

The Housing Advice Team will check the five day forecast on the BBC website, daily.


Where will rough sleepers sleep?

We will provide some form of emergency   accommodation. Rough sleepers stay there either until the severe weather ends, or they have found other suitable accommodation, whichever the sooner is.


Does this apply to all rough sleepers?

No, there are exceptions. People assessed as high risk by mental health services, police or probation workers are not placed in B&B’s. The Housing Options Team will discuss what options are available with the people involved.


What happens if someone doesn’t want emergency accommodation?

We will also record when a person refuses emergency accommodation. In all cases, we will offer advice and help. Our aim is to facilitating a longer term outcome.


How often will SWEP be reviewed?

We review the SWEP annually.



Contact details:  The Housing Advice Team, Scaitcliffe House, Ormerod Street, Accrington Tel:  01254 388111.