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Dublin: 11 °C Wednesday 24 January, 2018
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A UK charity is providing vending machines for the homeless

The first machine will be installed in Nottingham.

A CHARITY IN the UK committed to alleviating homelessness plans to introduce vending machines for those who are homeless.

The charity Action Hunger has a number of shelters in British cities that work to help the homeless – it’s now announced the introduction of vending machines on UK streets in the run up to what is expected to be a cold winter.

The machines will dispense sandwiches, fresh fruit, socks, toothpaste and sanitary towels among other essentials, and will prioritise rough sleepers.

In a statement on its website, the charity says that the benefits of the vending machines is that it allows those who are homeless to get food and clothing free of charge at any hour without waiting for a volunteer to drop by and hand out supplies.

“…at a time when government cuts in funding for local councils has decimated lots of the resources available, and had debilitating effects on those services that do remain, our machines serve as a novel solution.”

The items in vending machines would be received from supermarkets, charities, and local shops with excess produce. Toiletries and hygiene items would be bought separately for the machines.

To use the vending machines, a person must be handed a special key card, and can take a maximum of three items out per day. The limit is to prevent dependency on the machines.

Charities that Action Hunger are partnering with will hand out the cards.

Similarly to Ireland, the UK is experiencing a record rate of homelessness caused in part by inflated house prices and limited accommodation to rent. According to the UK charity Crisis, there were at least 4,100 people sleeping rough on any given night in 2016.

(That compares to 8,492 Irish people who were homeless in the week of October 23-29 2017 across Ireland. Of that number, there are around 184 people sleeping rough in the Dublin area.)

The first machine will be issued in Nottingham, with plans for the second to be installed in Manchester soon after, according to Reuters.

Read: Homeless deaths: Dublin’s emergency beds were practically at capacity on Monday night

Read: ‘It’s not sustainable’: Offaly’s only emergency homeless shelter risks closure over funding

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