Emergency accommodation is being offered to the homeless in Sheffield at the fire service HQ as temperatures plummet.
Accommodation is available for up to eight people a night at South Yorkshire Fire and Rescue’s headquarters, on Eyre Street, with British Red Cross volunteers on hand to welcome them.
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Framework’s street outreach team and Sheffield Council’s rough sleeper service will meet those taking up the offer to talk about their needs and the longer-term support available.
The offer of emergency accommodation has been made as part of Sheffield Council’s Weather Watch scheme, in response to the potential risk to life during spells of severe weather.
Councillor Jim, Steinke, Cabinet Member for Neighbourhoods and Community Safety at Sheffield City Council, said: “The fire station gives us extra places for people at risk of sleeping rough on the coldest nights, and is somewhere safe and warm.
“I’m incredibly grateful to the fire service and the British Red Cross, and all their staff and volunteers, for working with us on this.
“Homelessness is a growing problem and extra duties placed on councils means increased demand for services. But through this partnership work we’re able to offer more help to more people, which is what we want as a city.”
Richard Crow, British Red Cross emergency response officer for South Yorkshire, said: “We have responded to a request from Sheffield City Council alongside South Yorkshire Fire and Rescue to support at this scheme providing emergency shelter to the homeless in the city.
“British Red Cross volunteers and staff will be on hand to provide practical and emotional support, including the provision of hot food and drinks, and signposting service users to longer-term support where needed.
“The Red Cross responds to an emergency every four hours across the UK, working with partners to help people in crisis.”
Area Manager Tony Carlin, from South Yorkshire Fire and Rescue, said: “Helping people in need and saving lives is core to our mission as a fire service, so it makes perfect sense for us to provide emergency accommodation during particularly severe weather periods.
“This initiative provides comfort, warmth and shelter for rough sleepers and the homeless and is a clear example of public agencies working together to help some of the most vulnerable people in our area.”
You can also call the Weather Watch numbers on someone’s behalf (0114 273 6306 or 0800 7311 689 outside office hours) but please do this when you’re with the person so they can provide extra information.
For more information about help for rough sleepers visit www.sheffield.gov.uk or www.helpushelp.uk