Skip to main contentAccessibility Statement

Help for people sleeping rough in very cold or extreme weather

During periods of severe weather people who are sleeping rough in the West Northamptonshire area will be provided with somewhere safe, warm, and dry to stay through our Severe Weather Emergency Protocol (SWEP).

Anyone known to be at risk of sleeping rough will be contacted and provided with details of how to access the emergency accommodation. However, if you know someone who is sleeping rough in the West Northamptonshire area who needs accommodation, please advise them to contact the homelessness team by calling 0300 126 7000.  We are open 9am to 5pm Monday to Friday. The earlier in the day you contact us, the more time we will have to help you.

Outside of these hours, you can use the same number to contact our Out of Hours service.

If you are concerned about someone you believe may be sleeping rough, you can inform StreetLink who can investigate further and identify local support services.

Public authorities and all organisations including Registered Partners, can also contact us under the Duty to Refer.

Severe Weather Emergency Protocol (SWEP)

SWEP has two main aims, to ensure that:

  • no one dies on the streets due to severe weather
  • every effort is made to reach out to people sleeping rough to help them get the services they need

We will, barring exceptional circumstances, provide accommodation for individuals who are known to be rough sleeping in the district, with who we can make contact.

We monitor the Met Office's weather forecasts and consider any weather, including extreme cold, wind and rain, likely to increase the risk of serious harm to people sleeping rough. We will consider:

  • if the temperature is forecast to be 0ºC or lower for three consecutive nights or more. This will be based on the lowest temperatures recorded in any of the locality areas of West Northamptonshire (Northampton, Daventry or Towcester area)
  • if the temperature is forecast to be -1°C or below for at least two hours between 9pm and 9am on one or more nights
  • an occasional forecast above zero in a series of sub-zero nights and the impact of snow and wind chill, or excessive/prolonged rain, will be considered and individuals may be accommodated throughout the period of severe temperatures
  • when severe weather conditions such as high wind, heavy rain, snow and heatwaves all increase the risk of harm to people sleeping rough
  • if the prediction remains zero degrees or below, the SWEP will continue until the period of zero and below temperatures is broken by a series of increased temperatures and where there is no presence of significant snowfall or wind chill or excessive/prolonged rain
  • when triggered, we will implement SWEP across the whole of West Northamptonshire

  • we email all relevant Council teams, local Police services, faith and community groups, statutory and voluntary agencies and partners
  • we mobilise our Outreach team to contact anyone known to be at risk of sleeping rough that SWEP has been implemented, so they can access shelter from the severe weather

  • people who are sleeping rough in the West Northamptonshire area will be provided with somewhere safe, warm, and dry

Our SWEP provision is for individuals who are known to be rough sleeping within the West Northamptonshire area, and who do not have any form of accommodation available to them, or the means to secure accommodation. 

To be accepted for the SWEP provision the individual must:

  • have nowhere to sleep indoors during the severe weather (indoors does not include cars, sheds, or garages)
  • abide by the rules of the SWEP Accommodation provider
  • not be too high a risk, where that risk cannot be appropriately managed

SWEP operates outside the usual eligibility and entitlement frameworks that govern access to housing. It includes those with no recourse to public funds; people who have previously been excluded from access to services and those with no local connection.

Identifying a risk should not in itself exclude an individual from assistance through SWEP, it should however help to identify a risk management strategy and most appropriate provision. 

  • if a person needs warmer clothing or food, we will ensure they are referred to relevant sources of support
  • we encourage people to access any services they need during the time they are provided with SWEP accommodation
  • assistance with transport, to take up a SWEP placement, will be considered on a case-by-case basis

Donations of food and warm clothing are always welcome.

If you would like to make donations when SWEP is operational email us at [email protected].

  • SWEP provision is not a statutory obligation for any local authority
  • if the individual is of exceptionally high risk, we may not be able to accommodate them through SWEP
  • an individual may be asked to leave the SWEP accommodation if they fail to comply with their terms of occupation. If that occurs, we will inform relevant agencies working with that individual that SWEP is in place, but that individual is not being offered accommodation and the reasons why


Last updated 09 November 2023