Action group 'extremely concerned' about heatwave impact on rough sleepers

Jools Ramsey in top right with homeless person as main photo.

Jools Ramsey said she is "extremely concerned" about the ongoing heatwave's impact on rough sleepers - Credit: PA Wire/PA Images/Andrew Papworth

A homelessness charity chief has said she is "extremely concerned" about the ongoing heatwave's impact on rough sleepers. 

Action has been taken by councils all week and, on Friday, the first-ever red weather warning was issued for extreme heat.

Jools Ramsey, chief executive of Ipswich Housing Action Group, said: "The heatwave means there is a real risk of heat stroke, dehydration and health complications for people who already have poor health.

"It is also likely that people sleeping rough will move from their 'usual spots' in order to find shade. 

"I am extremely concerned about this."

On Thursday, ihAg found 10 people on the streets of Ipswich, a number Jools described as "worryingly high for any time of the year."

"Outreach has continued every day and has been supplying everyone we've found with water and sun cream - all from donations - and I've been highlighting the issue on our social media pages all week, should members of the public feel able to donate a reusable bottle", she said.

Ipswich Borough Council is also working to help rough sleepers during the heatwave.

A spokesman for IBC said: "Ipswich Borough Council always works with our partners to provide what help we can to rough sleepers, and especially so in difficult weather conditions – whether that is excessive heat, cold weather or heavy rain.

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"Our outreach team is works daily to help and by offering rough sleepers’ accommodation to get them out of the sun.”

On Tuesday 12 July, Babergh and Mid Suffolk District Councils instigated its severe weather emergency protocol (SWEP).

Anyone homeless or rough sleeping were offered emergency accommodation, while those not taking up the offer were provided with water, sunscreen and food. 

A spokesman for Babergh and Mid Suffolk District Councils said: “It’s important to protect all the members of our community, and with record temperatures due to hit over coming days we instigated our severe weather emergency protocol (SWEP) on Tuesday 12 July and will continue to monitor the weather conditions.

We encourage anyone who is or notices anyone is sleeping rough to contact our housing solutions team on 0300 1234 000

We are aware that there are some residents sleeping rough and do not wish to take up our offer of temporary accommodation, so we are offering water, sunscreen and food to anyone currently rough sleeping in our area and again encouragement to contact the team for help or support.”