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South Holland’s rough sleepers rescued from freezing streets

Library picture: rough sleepers are vulnerable when the temperature plummets.
Library picture: rough sleepers are vulnerable when the temperature plummets.

Rough sleepers were rescued from South Holland’s streets as the Beast from the East brought snow and sub-zero temperatures.

The district council’s outreach rough sleeper team, P3, found warm and dry accommodation for four to five people each night.

Coun Christine Lawton, South Holland District Council’s portfolio holder for housing, says the council has a severe weather emergency protocol (SWEP) that comes into force as soon as the temperature falls below freezing.

She said: “I am very proud of the work we do.

“We do care. We certainly don’t want people to be out in this weather if we know about them.”

Coun Lawton said there are may different reasons why people end up on the streets, it’s not just as simple as being homeless, and may involve things like domestic abuse or mental health.

She said P3 do regular sweeps, so they know where the rough sleepers are, and give advice on issues such as benefits and housing – and, in some cases, they will try to reunite rough sleepers with their families.

While the council tries its best, the help isn’t always accepted.

Coun Lawton said: “You can approach people but not everybody will accept help, it’s very difficult to believe in this weather but some people will actually turn you away.”

The outreach team can be contacted on 0808 281 0280 or on the council’s main number, 01775 761161.

Coun Lawton said anyone concerned about rough sleepers can also call those numbers.

• The councillor had her own dramas on Spalding’s snow and ice covered pavements on Friday with two falls.

She says she was picked up and dusted down the first time and the second time was given a lift home.

Coun Lawton said: “I would like to thank the two gentlemen who came to my rescue. There are some very good people out there.

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