Westminster Council reassured residents today that it stands ready to keep the borough warm, safe and working during this week’s expected bout of cold weather.
Cllr Heather Acton, Cabinet Member for Adult Social Services and Public Health is encouraging residents to take advantage of the Warm Homes, Healthy People initiative, which helps residents to keep warm and well at home while also helping to manage their fuel bills.
Warm Homes, Healthy People is open to all residents aged over 60 and with children under five years old. The help available includes a free Healthy Homes Check, help to improve the heating and insulation of your home, and help with changing your tariff to reduce energy bills. Residents can sign up themselves or on behalf of another member of the community.
Heather Acton, Cabinet Member for Adult Social Services and Public Health said:
“In cold weather, it is more important than ever to look out for the interests of vulnerable members of the community. Our Warm Homes, Healthy People initiative is there to help older people and those with young children to ensure their homes are safe and warm, and we want everyone to be aware of the support that’s available.
“It can be unsafe to let the temperature of your home drop below 18C, especially if you are elderly. If you are worried about managing during cold weather, or are concerned about a friend, neighbour or family member, sign up today at https://www.westminster.gov.uk/whhp”
Westminster is the only borough with outreach teams on the streets around the clock, every day of the year trying to help rough sleepers off the streets and into accommodation. To help rough sleepers find a place to stay when temperatures drop below zero Westminster Council outreach workers engage our Serious Weather Emergency Protocol (SWEP) to ensure rough sleepers are not in harm during extreme cold weather, and to encourage rough sleepers into accommodation during the whole winter period.
During cold nights Westminster Council provides up to 100 extra beds for rough sleepers. This temporary accommodation is based in Westminster’s outreach hostels, which provide a range of support for rough sleepers.
Outreach teams will be travelling across the city looking for vulnerable individuals and persuading them to stay, and the teams even allow people to bring their pets into accommodation. This emergency accommodation is available to all rough sleepers, even those with no recourse to public funds. If the teams cannot persuade a rough sleeper to come indoors they will provide them with hot food and blankets.
Councillor Rachael Robathan, Cabinet Member for Housing, said:
“During the winter period it is important to have warm accommodation available to everyone in need, especially vulnerable rough sleepers. Our serious weather emergency protocol makes available many extra beds, along with a wide range of support, when the temperature drops below zero.
“Our outreach workers will be scouring Westminster to find every person sleeping rough in the cold, and working hard to persuade them to accept a warm bed. If you are concerned about a person on the street please tell us via www.streetlink.org.uk”
Meanwhile, to keep roads and pavements safe, Westminster City Council is ready with 8 gritting vehicles to spread salt on the roads, nearly 200 salt bins strategically located on the street that sweepers use to grit pavements, and a store of 1500 tonnes of salt in reserve.
While the roads are being gritted council operatives mechanically treat a network of our busiest pavements using small gritting vehicles. Additionally, our street sweepers manually grit over 500 other pavement locations including pedestrian crossing points and subway steps across the city.