Heatwave: more help for Hasting rough-sleepers at risk from extreme heat

Hastings Borough Council has announced an increase in outreach services to rough sleepers as part of an initiative to minimise the risks of the extreme heat.

A homeless person sleeping rough in a doorway in Farringdon, London. PRESS ASSOCIATION Photo. Picture date: Tuesday February 7, 2017. Photo credit should read: Yui Mok/PA Wire
A homeless person sleeping rough in a doorway in Farringdon, London. PRESS ASSOCIATION Photo. Picture date: Tuesday February 7, 2017. Photo credit should read: Yui Mok/PA Wire

The move comes after a homeless charity issued a strict warning that the current heat wave will put thousands of rough sleepers at risk.

It has encouraged local authorities to step-up outreach services to counter the dangers posed by hot weather.

A spokesperson for Hastings Borough Council said: “In line with guidance published by Homeless Link, the council has taken a number of steps to ensure the risk to rough sleepers is minimised during periods of extreme heat.

"These steps include street outreach services and the Rough Sleeper Initiative (RSI) distributing water and sunscreen. We are also continuing to work with partners to offer support and temporary accommodation to rough sleepers.”

The guidance issued by Homeless Link warns that temperatures around 25°C and over are associated with excess summer deaths.

It states: “Deaths may be from underlying illnesses made worse by heat – primarily lung and heart diseases – or from heat specific conditions, such as heat exhaustion and heatstroke. Mental health may also worsen during hot weather.

"For people sleeping on the streets, it can be a challenge to find drinking water, cool showers and cool spaces to spend time in. Without safe storage, people are often wearing extra layers or carrying heavy bags all day.

"Being prepared and acting early are key to protecting people’s health.”

The charity also explains that hot weather can increase the likelihood and severity of covid infection, quoting the Health Agencies’ warning that: “People at risk from high temperatures may also be vulnerable to COVID-19 infection, and vice versa.”

Homeless Link argues that there are some small steps that can be taken to help reduce deaths in hot weather.

These include increasing access to cool or shady spaces, providing drinking water, and arranging for safe storage of winter coats and bags.

For more information on the guidance, please visit the Homeless Link website.

Rough sleepers in Hastings can now collect water and sunscreen from Seaview Project, Southwater Centre Hatherley Road, St Leonards on Sea, TN37 6LB.