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Bad Weather

This is what to do if you see a homeless person sleeping rough tonight

There are a number of phone numbers available to contact if you see someone sleeping rough.

WITH IRELAND IN the midst of a bout of cold weather and wintry conditions, concerns have been raised for people sleeping rough at night. 

Sinn Féin’s Mary Lou McDonald told the Dáil yesterday that there were 86 people sleeping rough on Dublin’s streets the previous night, and Inner City Helping Homeless said its team were told there were no beds available at 11.30pm for a number of people on Tuesday night. 

This was contested by Dublin Region Homeless Executive (DRHE) director Eileen Gleeson, who told RTÉ’s News at One that there was no shortage of beds on Tuesday and no need for anyone to sleep rough. She also said a number of people refuse to engage with their services, meaning they don’t accept a bed for the night. 

A DRHE spokesperson yesterday told TheJournal.ie that its strategy to deal with adverse weather events has been put into action already with the coming cold snap. 

“As mentioned by our director on RTÉ earlier part of our Cold Weather Strategy that is already in place is to provide a targeted response to people rough sleeping, particularly those that are reluctant to engage with services or those that are long-term sleeping rough,” the spokesperson said. 

So, what you should do if you see someone sleeping rough over the coming days across the country? 

The DRHE has an online system whereby people can report the location of a rough sleeper in Dublin. This reporting system can be found here

In Kildare, the Peter McVerry Trust is operating the freephone line, which is 1800 804 307.

People can contact Meath County Council on its out of hours number 1890 445 335.

For services in Kilkenny, you can call Good Shepherd Centre out-of-hours on 056 7722566 or John’s Green House on 056 7794900 during the daytime. 

In Cork, if you observe someone sleeping rough during the current cold weather, you can contact Cork Simon Outreach Team on 021 4278728.

The Limerick Homeless Action Team can be reached on its freephone out of hours number: 1800 606060.

In Galway, you can call Cope homeless services on 1800 788887.

To alert services in Kerry, you can call Arlington Lodge shelter in Tralee on 066 719 3800.

The DRHE spokesperson said that they are fully aware of the impact that this type of weather can have on people sleeping rough, and its teams are working with people on a daily basis.

In addition to the 250+ beds added to its capacity last year, DRHE added a number of contingency beds had been allocated for use during this cold spell.

Emergency accommodation

Emergency accommodation figures for December, which were released yesterday, show that there were collectively 9,753 people living in emergency accommodation across Ireland, a drop of 215 people when compared with November. 

Commenting on the figures, Minister for Housing Eoghan Murphy said that the increase of adults accessing emergency accommodation last month “was expected given the large numbers of new beds introduced for rough sleepers in the Dublin region”. 

“These individuals are now receiving the care and support that they need to exit homelessness to an independent tenancy,” he said. 

Sinn Féin housing spokesperson Eoin Ó Broin said that he welcomed any reduction in the number of people homeless, but said this was a result of the “usual annual seasonal drop in the number of families with children that occurs every Christmas”. 

“What [the] figures tell us is that the government still has not got a grip on the homeless crisis,” he said. “They are failing to stem the flow of families into emergency accommodation and are not getting homeless families into permanent tenancies fast enough.”

With reporting by Michelle Hennessy and Sean Murray

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