Homelessness isn’t just the distressing sight of people sleeping rough in tents or shop doorways. The recent national lockdowns and associated loss of income has increased this problem.
It’s also the young people who are sofa surfing, the families who are in temporary accommodation, and anyone who’s living at risk of violence or abuse in the home.
You can find a full definition from the housing charity Shelter:
Homelessness has been rising across the UK in recent years, and Frome is no exception.
The results can be devastating.
We’ve heard how homelessness can lead to mental and physical health issues, the loss of support networks, and an inability to work or even register for benefits.
Over the winter of 2018-9, Fair Housing for Frome set up an emergency cold weather shelter called Zero Nights for people sleeping rough in the town. This scheme is still operating in the winter of 2020-21.
We’ve also created a leaflet about practical responses to homelessness in Frome. It includes information about what to do if you find someone sleeping outdoors, who they can turn to, and where they can find support such as free or low cost meals and specialist advice. You can download an electronic copy here, or pick up a printed leaflet at Frome Town Hall, Fair Frome and other locations around the town.
Once again over the winter of 2020-21 Fair Housing for Frome have been supporting Mendip District Council and Elim Connect with the Severe Weather Emergency Protocol. This was formerly known as Zero Nights in Frome but is now part of a much larger, national initiative to provide a warm refuge for rough sleepers in severe weather scenarios.
The program is triggered when the overnight temperature is forecast to drop below zero for 3 consecutive nights and if this is deemed to be the case the protocol is instigated. The reason that 3 nights is chosen is because it has been determined by health care professionals that the cumulative effect of sub zero nights that is more likely to lead to serious health issues or even loss of life and it is the 3rd night where they see the bulk of these issues. It’s worth noting that it’s not just cold weather that can trigger the protocol, any adverse weather event such as torrential rain, wind or snow can also trigger the scheme. If you are concerned about someone sleeping rough call Streetlink on 0300 500 0914