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The Mayor of London has activated an emergency protocol to protect homeless people.

The London-wide Severe Weather Emergency Protocol (SWEP) has been activated meaning all councils and homelessness charities across the capital will open additional accommodation for people who are sleeping rough.

The protocol was last activated on December 7 as London was hit by snow and ice. SWEP was in action for 12 days during which time more than 600 homeless people were helped off the streets and into emergency accommodation.

However this was almost five times the number of people accommodated during any of the periods of SWEP last year.

Sadiq Khan fears this is a result of rising bills and housing costs which are forcing growing numbers of people to sleep rough on London’s streets.

Mr Khan said: “Since 2016, we’ve quadrupled funding and support to tackle homelessness, helping over 13,500 rough sleepers off the streets, but there’s much more to do. Too many people are facing a freezing winter on the streets of the capital without the safe, secure accommodation they need.

“Across the capital, we are doing everything we can to prevent anyone sleeping rough in these freezing conditions as we work to build a fairer and safer London for everyone. I am also encouraging Londoners to download the Streetlink app or use the Streetlink website to connect people they see sleeping rough with local support services.

“London’s councils and charities will be working even harder this week to support some of the most vulnerable people in our city. On behalf of all Londoners I thank them for their tireless efforts.”


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