Words by Smiley Team
Britain is pretty hot right now – and many people are struggling to go about their daily lives.
With temperatures looking to soar past 30C this July, the UK Health Security Agency has issued a ‘level two alert’ for southern and central England, warning people to take precautions.
In response, several county councils from Southern UK have teamed up with St Mungo’s and other homelessness charities to look at activating their severe weather protocols, which are designed to keep people safe during instances of extreme weather.
And it's more important than ever to look out for the homeless during this time.
“Sleeping rough is always harmful and dangerous, but in particular when there are extreme changes to the weather like this week where we expect days of soaring temperatures,” said Petra Salva, Director of Rough Sleeper, Westminster and Migrant Services at St Mungo’s.
“This heat can be life-threatening, especially whilst the temperatures remain high for prolonged periods. The heat can cause a number of severe health illnesses such as; heat cramps, heat rash, heat oedema, heat syncope, heat exhaustion and heat stroke.”
Petra went on to list a number of things the public can do to assist rough sleepers who they believe may be in danger due to the extreme weather.
“[Buy] them sun cream or some water and make an alert to StreetLink, so that they can be connected with local support and brought inside,” she advised. “In an emergency, people should call 999 when a person’s safety is at risk.”
StreetLink is an organisation that aims to end rough sleeping by using members of the public to connect rough sleepers with charities that can offer assistance. It has a free app which can be used to alert local services to the location and general description of rough sleepers so that they can send someone to offer assistance.
It was also revealed that St Mungo’s is joining other charities in working with local authorities to make sure that more accommodation is available. It will ensure that safe spaces in existing services are turned into emergency shelters, to offer people a roof over their heads and some reprieve from the heat this summer.
DONATE: Give financial support to StreetLink, and help them offer assistance to rough sleepers across the UK.
VOLUNTEER: Get stuck in with The Big Issue to help push the conversation around homelessness.
GET INVOLVED: Fundraise with St Mungo’s and help them support rough sleepers and bring an end to homelessness.