Concerns for vulnerable people grew on Friday as the Meteorological Office issued a red alert for snow – the highest level of warning – for parts of southwest England and south Wales.
Yellow and amber warnings are in place across the UK on Friday and into the weekend, with Storm Emma bringing heavy snow and strong winds.
“The temperature is pretty severe, so we thought, ‘Why don’t we do something to help?’” Rabnawaz Akbar, a trustee of Makki Masjid in the northern city of Manchester, told Al Jazeera.
Over the past couple of days, a handful of volunteers have camped out at the place of worship, providing food and shelter to Manchester’s homeless.
The mosque is also offering its shower facilities to those seeking a place to stay.
Because the mosque is situated in a predominately South Asian area, the meals on offer include traditional Bangladeshi and Pakistani meals such as rice and curried chicken.
Leeds Grand Mosque, Oldham Mosque, Finsbury Park Mosque, Canterbury Mosque and Dublin’s Clonskeagh Mosque, which is part of the Islamic Cultural Centre of Ireland, have also opened their doors to the homeless.
“We will have a security team on duty at night, and maintenance teams have been alerted to make sure there is sufficient heating in the building, especially late at night,” Summayah Kenna, head of community welfare at the Islamic Cultural Centre of Ireland, told Dublin’s 98FM radio.
Last month Government figures revealed the number of homeless people in England had reached a record high, surging by 73 percent in three years.
On any given night last autumn, 4,751 people were recorded sleeping on the streets, a figure that has more than doubled since 2010.
Campaigners described the rise as a “catastrophe” and called on ministers to take “swift action” to tackle the problem.
The death toll from this week’s severe weather conditions, ‘beast from the east’ rose to 11 on Friday.
More than 1,000 schools were closed during disruption which is being described as the worst “in a generation”, and hospitals cancelled non-urgent operations and appointments.