THIS week is expected to see a drop in temperatures with freezing condition which is bad news for rough sleepers.

According to the housing charity Shelter, the West Midlands has seen a rise of 2,400 to take the total number of homeless people in the region to 24,000.

Local authorities have a legal obligation to get people off the streets during extended periods of cold weather.

The Severe Weather Emergency Protocol (SWEP) says councils should take action when they feel rough sleepers are at risk from adverse conditions.

Councils across the region are urging people to let them know if homeless people are at risk.

Councillor Keiran Casey, Dudley cabinet member for housing and residents welfare, said: "I would appeal to local people to help us and report anyone they suspect may be sleeping rough so we can ensure they get offered the help and support they need."

Dudley borough residents should 0300 555 2345 if the think someone sleeping rough and needs help.

In Worcestershire Redditch Borough Council introduced the protocol last week, its help for rough sleepers is provided by Streetlink who can be contacted online or by calling 0300 555 2345.

In Wyre Forest Councillor Ian Hardiman, cabinet member for housing, health and wellbeing at Wyre Forest District Council, said: “If anyone needs advice on their housing options, are threatened with homelessness or are homeless, please contact our housing options service on 01562 732928.”