Citygate church in Bournemouth is warning that homeless people are at extreme risk due to the current weather conditions.
The Beast from the East has caused temperatures at night to fall well below freezing for the last week.
“This is a killer, people lose their lives when they are sleeping rough in conditions like this.” says John Morton, Head of Operations at Citygate Church, Bournemouth.
He says that the life expectancy of homeless people is more than 30 years lower than the average life expectancy in Bournemouth.
But he says that their service, Sleepsafe, exists to help people get off of the streets for good, not just for one night.
“Our heart for the homeless would be that it’s not just providing a meal or a bed, we help them to transform and change their lives.”
Out of 80 homeless people offered beds through SleepSafe, 47 were moved into secure accommodation
Supply and demand
Mr Morton says that there are plenty of services available for homeless people, but they aren’t being used.
When temperatures are below freezing for more three nights in a row, the council opens up its “Severe Weather Emergency Protocol”.
However, he says that some homeless people still choose not to use what’s available to them. This may be down to complex issues, but it could be as simple as not being allowed in with their dogs.
Mr Morton gives some advice on what to do if you see someone sleeping rough at the moment:
More information and contact details for SleepSafe are available here.