South Shields weather: How South Tyneside's Severe Weather Emergency Protocol can help homeless across the borough this winter

As South Tyneside and the wider North East fall victim to sub-zero temperatures, the council has plans in place to support those sleeping on the streets this winter.

Like other local authorities across England, South Tyneside Council has a Severe Weather Emergency Protocol (SWEP) in place during the winter months to protect and support people considered homeless from life-threatening weather conditions, providing emergency accommodation.

According to the charity Homeless Link, there is no single definition of severe weather. Instead, this covers any conditions that increase the harm to those sleeping rough – including severe cold, rain, snow, wind and even heat.

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In South Tyneside, the current SWEP launched on December 1, 2022 and is likely to remain active throughout the winter period.

Temperatures have been below freezing in South Tyneside.

A council spokeperson said: “We have commissioned additional bedspaces and have also placed people into B&B accommodation to reduce the risk to health. Our outreach service is out every morning and throughout the day engaging with anyone reported or found sleeping rough.

"They are supported to present to the housing options homelessness team who will assist with emergency accommodation; however anyone who is sleeping rough or is at risk of sleeping rough can present direct to this service for support. We have been given an uplift on our homelessness prevention grant which will be spent on emergency accommodation.”

Councils and their partners in various areas of the country work together to provide emergency accommodation during periods of extreme weather. Though there is no statutory obligation to do this – unless a person is considered homeless and in priority need of assistance – there is a humanitarian obligation for authorities to prevent deaths and serious harm on the streets, Homeless Link added.

How to help in South Tyneside

If you are concerned about someone who’s homeless or sleeping rough in the South Tyneside local authority area, use the Streetlink app online here. This information will be passed to South Tyneside Homes and the council’s commissioned Outreach Team so they can investigate.

The Homelessness Service can also be contacted in the following ways:

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*Freephone 0800 1412645 from Monday to Friday between 9am and 5pm.

*0191 456 2093 in office hours

*Via freephone at South Shields Town Hall, Jarrow Town Hall and Hebburn Central