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Crisis: councils must protect rough sleepers from deadly cold

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Crisis: councils must protect rough sleepers from deadly cold

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Published by Max Salsbury for 24dash.com in Health and also in Environment, Housing, Local Government

Crisis: councils must protect rough sleepers from deadly cold Crisis: councils must protect rough sleepers from deadly cold

Crisis has called the country's councils to protect rough sleepers as snow and freezing conditions are forecast across the UK for the next two weeks.

Severe Weather Emergency Provision (SWEP) was activated on Saturday, which means that all rough sleepers should be given the opportunity to get out of the cold and given refuge.

SWEP is activated when night-time temperatures are forecast to dip below freezing for three consecutive nights.

With rough sleeping haven risen by 23% across the country and by 43% in London over the last year, Crisis is calling on local authorities to fulfil their obligation to help homeless people in icy conditions.

Leslie Morphy, Crisis chief executive, said: "Freezing conditions can prove fatal for people sleeping on the streets. The average age of death for a homeless person is just 47.

"Independent research reveals that the economic downturn combined with cuts, particularly to housing benefit, will cause rising homelessness to accelerate further.

"We know that in London SWEP has been activated – we’re calling on councils across the UK to protect rough sleepers from the deadly cold.

"Homelessness services are facing real pressure – 2,000 hostel beds have been lost over the past two years and people’s live could be at risk. We need action not just to save homeless people this week, but all year round."

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