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Added 03 May 2023

Who are these documents for?

  • Frontline homelessness services
  • Local authority staff responsible for SWEP (Severe Weather Emergency Protocol)

Why are they relevant?

Across the UK, SWEP is activated in periods of extreme high or low temperatures. SWEP is an emergency response to support people experiencing homelessness, and ultimately prevents loss of life.

Currently, due to the UK’s climate, there is a lot of guidance on cold weather SWEP, but a distinct lack of information on hot weather. The resource on this page provides some recommendations for the sector and collates learning from Australia, with tips on how to keep cool and how to recognise heat-related illnesses. Case studies have also been collected to provide an insight of how some organisations supported people experiencing homelessness during the UK heatwave in July 2022.

What are the key takeaways?

  • People experiencing homelessness are at a heightened risk of developing heat-related illnesses due their inability to keep cool (owing to a lack of shelter) and reduced access to showers and drinking water.
  • Whole community planning and information sharing between organisations is essential to having a coordinated response during hot weather.
  • During periods of extreme heat, it is advised that outreach teams visit hotspots regularly to engage with individuals sleeping rough and advise them of cool spaces & provisions available.
  • There are a number of resources available to support the development of a plan for supporting people during hot weather.
  • The UKHSA guidance on supporting people sleeping rough before and during hot weather can be found here.