Canterbury has a significant problem with homelessness

Council issues urgent message to rough sleepers as freeze persists

Canterbury City Council is urging rough sleepers to make use of its night shelter as below zero temperatures are forecast to last for the rest of the week.

The authority has activated its Severe Weather Emergency Protocol (SWEP) which involves providing rough sleepers with accommodation.

Despite temperatures hitting -3C overnight and heavy snowfall only 14 people used the night shelter.

Cllr Simon Cook: I don’t want people dying

Cllr Simon Cook, the leader of Canterbury City Council, said: “I don’t want people dying because they can’t access the available services.

“We need to get this message out there.”

Under SWEP, the authority works alongside homeless charities Catching Lives and Porchlight and the Street Pastor teams which patrol the city centre.

Canterbury has a sizeable homeless population with many living in makeshift camps on the edge of the city or else sleeping in shop doorways and covered areas such as in St George’s Street.

SWEP is due to last until the end of the week when temperatures are forecast to rise above freezing.

The last time it was activated was between February 2 and February 18 when 46 people stayed in the shelter for a total of 282 nights.

If you are homeless or you see a homeless person call Catching Lives on 01227 464 904 or out of hours call Canterbury City Council on 01227 781 879.

For more information visit Canterbury City Council’s website or Catching Lives.

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