Cold weather shelter - helping rough sleepers

Top facts

  • A night shelter for all people who are rough sleeping opens in extreme weather
  • A new phone number is available directly to the shelter when it is open
  • Outreach workers help people who are rough sleeping all year round and let them know when the shelter is open  

A number to call

You can now contact the SWEP (severe weather emergency protocol) team directly if you’re worried about someone bedding down on the streets when the overnight cold weather shelter is open. 

From tonight (Thursday 24 January), the SWEP team can be reached on 07895 407168 from 7pm on the nights when the shelter is open. 

The SWEP shelter opens during extreme cold weather for anyone who is rough sleeping. The shelter provides an evening meal, a place to stay and bedding.  

Outreach workers go out and about during the day before SWEP opens to let people know the shelter will be available that night. Details of when SWEP is open are also posted on our 'how we help rough sleepers' webpage.

Central location

SWEP’s main base is at Wagner Hall on West Street from 7pm to 8am (when day services open).

Sometimes people choose not to go into the shelter at 7pm and can be out on the streets much later in the evening. People on the street are made aware shelter is available but no one has to take up the offer.

New contact number

The SWEP team can be reached on 07598 346109 from 7pm on the nights when the shelter is open. 

You can speak with one of the SWEP team to ask questions about the shelter and be given reassurance places are available if people are in doubt about whether they can go in. You can also share a location and description of someone you’re concerned about. Outreach workers will be able to check if help has already been offered.  

If you reach the voicemail please leave information about who needs helping. You might not receive a reply if the service is very busy but the phone with be checked regularly for messages. Please note, this is not an emergency line and if you’re concerned for someone’s safety or health call the emergency services.  

Councillor Clare Moonan said: “We’ve set up the telephone link to make sure concerns can be raised as quickly as possible. We also encourage people to call the Streetlink service with information which will also be passed on to outreach workers at times when SWEP is not open. We to make sure as many people as possible can come in from the cold. 

“SWEP is part of a range of rough sleeping services, including a winter night shelter for up to 30 people running until March and a hub where up to 17 people have their needs assessed to help them move away from the streets. We’re working together with our partners to make a real difference for those in need.”

Open more this winter

The trigger for opening the SWEP shelter is when a 'feels like 0 degrees' temperature is forecast by the Met Office and also takes into account windchill. The trigger for opening SWEP in Brighton & Hove is one of the lowest in the country.

At this point last year the shelter had opened only 12 times during the same period. So far this winter, SWEP has been open for 20 nights. The first time the shelter opened this winter was on 12 December 2018. The difference is because the trigger for opening was previously higher so the shelter met the criteria for opening less frequently. The current “feels like 0 degrees” trigger was introduced following consultation with residents this summer. 

More information:

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