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Advice issued to Swansea homeless ahead of cold weather front

By South Wales Evening Post  |  Posted: January 17, 2013

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ADVICE has been issued to Swansea's homeless as the cold weather front gripping parts of the UK is expected to move towards Wales.

The Met Office has predicted possible snow here over the next few days, with temperatures dipping below freezing.

The issue of rough sleepers was highlighted this week when police issued an appeal to find Robert Joseph Dean Jones. He has since been found.

And staff and volunteers have been working with the city's homeless in order to help them avoid the worst of the weather.

The Cyrenians, based on the High Street, have been offering flu jabs to visitors, and providing 'keep warm keep well'.

And a night shelter scheme run by city churches, Swansea Hope, is also bracing itself for increased numbers of homeless people using their service. The network involves 55 churches of all denominations providing emergency accommodation.

The project began operating in December and is due to run until the end of February.

Swansea Hope co-ordinator Mandy Harvey said: "We have been running a night shelter for rough sleepers, where one church opens each night to provide some shelter. People can't just turn up, they need to be referred from one of the homeless agencies.

"We were quite quiet over Christmas, but we have noticed we have been getting more referrals as the weather gets colder.

"Although we use just a limited number of churches, which take a turn each night of the week, it involves support from volunteers from churches across Swansea."

A Swansea Council spokesman said: "The council and its partners have developed a winter plan to ensure that accommodation and support services currently available for rough sleepers are closely integrated during the colder months of the year.

"As part of this plan, the Swansea Night Shelter is able to provide emergency accommodation to rough sleepers. The night shelter is a service provided by volunteers from churches throughout Swansea.

"Referrals for rough sleepers are made through Caerlas' Access Point project on The Strand.

"Those who have been accommodated under the winter plan are immediately referred to outreach providers and case workers from the council's housing options service so that a more permanent solution can be found.

Annual funding is also provided to a consortium of agencies working with rough sleepers to cover the cost of bed and breakfast accommodation when required."

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