Coventry agencies are encouraging rough sleepers in the city centre to access local services, where food and shelter is being provided as winter takes hold.
The severe weather emergency protocol (SWEP) is in place in the city, and it is likely to last until Friday. With low temperatures this week agencies are engaging with rough sleepers to persuade them about why they should use the support available to them.
Cllr Ed Ruane, Housing and Communities said that all local agencies are committed to the protocol and so far it was working effectively.
He said: “We have venues available where people can gain warmth, shelter and food, but the challenge is to persuade people to use the services.
“We can’t imagine what it is like to sleep outdoors on the streets especially when the weather is so cold.
“Agencies are talking to people, persuading rough sleepers that it’s absolutely vital for their health and wellbeing to make use of the Winter Night Shelter and other services available.”
The SWEP protocol is enacted by the Salvation Army at which time the Council and other agencies are notified.
In Coventry there are in the region of 25 rough sleepers in the city centre.
Everyone who is sleeping rough in Coventry will be able to access cold weather provision. This includes pet owners, couples, individuals whose needs might be more complex, and those who have no recourse to public funds.
Cllr Ruane added: “We’ve talked about the challenges for agencies often dealing with people with mental health issues or drug problems so solutions are not easy to find. The lifestyles that people lead means that being in a night shelter or other types of agency run accommodation, where there are rules to adhere to, can feel intimidating.”
Coventry Winter Night Shelter (CWNS) is a project run by Coventry Churches around the city, which provides rough sleepers with support, a hot meal, a safe and warm bed for the night and breakfast the next day. The project runs up until 31 March every year.
The CWNS is ready to register anybody who is sleeping rough, regardless of their local connection or benefit status.
The CWNS is a partnership project between the City Council and Hope Coventry. If you would like to make a donation toward the work of CWNS, it is quick and easy using Hope Coventry’s website.
Registrations to use the Shelter provision can be taken at the following locations:
If you need advice about helping people in need of accommodation over the winter, call Coventry Night Shelter’s Bernardo 07450 693897 or Helen 077133 40065.
Find out more about food and other provisions for rough sleepers.