Rough sleeper support & SWEP

SWEP (severe weather emergency protocol)

SWEP is not currently active.

The severe weather emergency protocol (SWEP) is a crucial initiative designed to protect vulnerable individuals, especially the homeless, during extreme weather conditions.

This protocol is typically activated in response to severe weather forecasts, such as extreme cold, heat waves, heavy snowfall, or other hazardous conditions that pose significant health risks to those without adequate shelter.


  • Protection of vulnerable populations The primary aim of SWEP is to safeguard the lives of people who are homeless or at risk of homelessness during severe weather events. This includes providing temporary shelter and warmth for those who do not have a place to stay.
  • Coordination of services SWEP encourages coordination among local authorities, homeless services, and community organizations to ensure that efforts are consolidated and effective in reaching out to those in need.
  • Public awareness Part of the protocol involves raising awareness among the general public and relevant stakeholders about the activation of emergency services and how they can assist, either by directing those in need to help or by volunteering their time and resources.


Once activated, SWEP measures can include:

  • Opening additional emergency shelters or extending the capacity of existing ones.
  • Relaxing restrictions that might normally apply to shelter access, ensuring that as many people as possible can find refuge.
  • Deploying outreach teams to engage with people sleeping rough, informing them of the available services and encouraging them to make use of the emergency provisions.
  • Ensuring that there are adequate provisions for health and safety, including food, medical care, and warmth.