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rough sleppers

Additional emergency beds opened up to accommodate homeless during cold snap

There are calls for accommodation to be kept open during the day so homeless individuals are not out in the cold all day.

THE GOVERNMENT HAS said arrangements are being put in place to accommodate rough sleepers during the forecasted spell of severe cold weather this week.

Met Éireann has put in place a national weather warning until Saturday evening, with “exceptionally cold weather”, including snow, expected.

Organisations providing services to the homeless had expressed concern in recent days about what would happen when temperatures drop.

Brian McLoughlin of Inner City Helping Homeless said over the last week volunteers have been assisting over 100 people per night in the city. As well as additional beds, he requested that emergency accommodation units are kept open during the day so people are not expected to “walk the streets for the day in the crippling cold”.

The Department of Housing, Planning and Local Government said Minister Eoghan Murphy has asked the department to make contact with all local authorities and homeless agencies to ensure arrangements are in place for homeless individuals.

Local authorities have confirmed that they will keep all cold weather initiatives for rough sleepers in place. There will be additional capacity to ensure that there is an increase in bed spaces available for rough sleepers that would not normally avail of homeless services in the main urban areas of Dublin, Cork, Galway, Limerick and Waterford.

In Dublin, the Dublin Region Homeless Executive has secured an additional 84 beds and ‘one night only’ beds will remain open on a 24-hour basis. Two outreach teams will be working on the streets to encourage rough sleepers to come into shelter.

The department did not state that accommodation would be kept open during the day so that homeless individuals would not have to spend the day out in the cold.

Members of the public are being asked to contact their local authority to report any rough sleepers that they have concerns about and any such cases will be followed up. In the Dublin region, members of the public can report cases of concern here.

“Rough sleepers require additional supports and the Government is working hard to implement solutions,” Minister Murphy said.

“Extensive efforts have been made to deliver new accommodation with over 200 new beds provided in the Dublin region towards the end of 2017. The introduction of these additional beds has enabled the State to provide medical supports and the appropriate interventions to individuals, who otherwise would be outside the system and on our streets”.

The minister will convene the National Emergency Co-ordination Group for Severe Weather tomorrow morning to discuss contingency plans for the severe weather.

Read: Met Éireann extends warning about ‘exceptionally cold weather’ next week>

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