Kingston Council (RBK) invoked the Severe Weather Emergency Protocol (SWEP) to help rough sleepers in the borough amid freezing temperatures.

The measures are designed to homeless people in the borough during the colder winter months and ensure that no one dies as a result of rough sleeping during winter.

Launched on the first day that overnight temperatures hit zero degrees Celsius or below, the measures guarantee shelter to rough sleepers in the borough.

They do so largely in conjunction with one of the borough's most active homelessness support charity — Kingston Churches Action on Homelessness (KCAH).

KCAH's winter Night Shelter scheme has won plaudits for its success in supporting rough sleepers in Kingston, and can accommodate and provide for up to 30 people at a time.

If the Night Shelter is full to capacity on any given night, RBK says they provide B & B accommodation to rough sleepers until the cold weather changes.

Further, the council will assess the housing needs of anyone referred to them via the SWEP emergency measures.

A statement about the SWEP on RBK's website reads:

"Anyone who is referred to the council under SWEP, will be assessed for any short or longer term housing support that they may need or be able to access across a number of partner agencies.

"They will also be provided with advice and information relevant to their individual circumstances.

"If SWEP is activated during a weekend or public holiday and the Winter Night Shelter is full the RBK's Out of Hour Service can be contacted in order that emergency accommodation can be arranged on behalf of the Housing Options Service, if required."

Details of who to contact while the protocols are in place are as follows:

Housing Options Service

Telepehone: 020 8547 5003


Opening Hours: Monday to Friday 9am to 5pm

Out of Hours Service

Telephone: 020 8770 5000