As UK Temperatures Plummet, Fire Stations Have Opened Their Doors to Homeless People

December 9, 2017 Updated: December 9, 2017

Fire stations have opened their doors to homeless people as the UK braces itself for icy weather.

The Met Office has issued several weather warnings for the weekend, with snowfall expected in parts of Scotland, Northern Ireland, Wales, northern England and the Midlands.

The plunge in temperature comes in the wake of Storm Caroline, that brought winds as high as 90 mph.

In response to the arctic chill, community areas in two fire stations in Manchester have been converted into shelters for homeless people as a respite from the bitter cold, the Manchester Evening News reported.

The initiative at Manchester Central and Ashton fire stations is supported by careworkers to welcome people who would otherwise be sleeping rough in sub-zero conditions.

“This is a clear example of all agencies in Greater Manchester pulling together to help support some of the most vulnerable people in our city region,” Greater Manchester’s Mayor, Andy Burnham told the Manchester Evening News.

“Whilst most of us are enjoying the festive season, for those who have no choice but to sleep on the streets it is a lonely, dangerous, and potentially life-threatening time.”

On Sunday, heavy snow is predicted in parts of Wales, the Midlands, and parts of Northern and Eastern England. An Amber warning for snow was issued by the Met Office for parts of the UK.

It warns: “Road, rail and air travel delays are likely, as well as stranding of vehicles and public transport cancellations. There is a good chance that some rural communities could become cut off.”

Up to 20 cm of snow could fall in the hills of Northern Scotland, while in Northern England, 5 to 10 cm of snow could accumulate over high ground and 2 to 5 cm could fall on low levels.

The move to convert the fire stations’ community rooms came after Burnham called on the council, police officers, and housing providers to take “immediate action” to tackle the homelessness crisis.

“This initiative provides comfort, warmth and shelter for rough sleepers and the homeless which is a fantastic step forward and I’m really grateful to Greater Manchester Fire and Rescue Service and the relevant councils and agencies who’ve made this happen. It may just save lives,” he said.

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