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Leah Farrell via Rolling News
rough sleepers

Concerns raised for homeless population amid warnings of 'exceptionally' high temperatures next week

Major worries for rough sleepers include sunburn, heat exhaustion and heat stroke.

THE GOVERNMENT AND homelessness organisations have expressed concerns for the welfare of the homeless population following predictions that temperatures will reach up to 32 degrees next week. 

A Status Yellow high temperature warning beginning on Sunday was issued by Met Éireann today, with the national meteorological service forecasting “exceptionally” high day-time temperatures of 25 to 30 degrees.  

The Department for Housing issued a statement to leading regional homelessness bodies yesterday offering guidance on how best to support the homeless in the coming days.

Head of Homeless Services for COPE Galway Sinéad Carey told The Journal that her organisation has raised concern for rough sleepers  and vulnerable clients availing of their day centres.

She said: “Hot weather is often a source of further stress for people who are experiencing the trauma of homelessness. Rough sleepers are at risk of heat exhaustion or heat stroke… and severe sunburn.

“While experiencing housing insecurity and threats to personal safety, it is extremely difficult to be in the headspace where planning ahead is possible.

“Access to supplies needed is a challenge,” she said, adding that swollen limbs and heat associated pain are other common complaints.

Carey said that the COPE Galway street outreach team will be out on the streets of Galway 4 times across Saturday and Sunday to provide sun cream, sun hats and water to people who are rough sleeping. The organisation’s day centre will also be open longer on Sunday to provide shelter and a safe place to relax.

According to Focus Ireland figures, there are over 10,300 homeless people across Ireland as of May 2022, the highest figure since December 2019. 

Dublin City Council’s spring time count found that there were roughly 91 sleeping rough in the capital the week of 28 March – 3 April 2022, meanwhile COPE Galway outreach team encountered 126 instances of rough sleeping between 20 June and 3 July.

This figure includes individuals sleeping rough numerous times over multiple days, and was comprised of 29 individuals.

A spokesperson for the Department of Housing, Local Government and Heritage said that the Department issued a written communication yesterday to homeless regional leads expressing Housing Minister Daragh O’Brien’s concern that the needs “for our vulnerable homeless citizens, particularly rough sleepers, during this extended hot period are met”.

The Department has asked local authorities and their outreach teams to provide increased street outreach, water, sunscreen and sun hats and shelter during the day.

It also advised organisations to use social media to ask the public to report people sleeping rough during the hot weather.

Carey urged anyone sleeping rough or homeless in the Galway region to contact the Teach Corrib Day Centre at 091 525259 or the COPE freephone helpline at 1800 788 887.

The Status Yellow temperature warning will be in place 6am Sunday and will last until 9pm on Tuesday, with the highest temperatures of up to 32 degrees expected on Monday.

Evenings are also set to remain hot, with temperatures overnight of between 15 and 20 degrees.

Met Éireann have warned that heat stress -  particularly for vulnerable people –  will be a potential impact of the hot weather. 

 

If you are sleeping rough or know of anyone living in homelessness and in need of help, you can contact your local county council or the following helplines:
  • Simon Community Dublin Outreach: 01 872 0185
  • Simon Community Cork Day Centre: 021 4226 047
  • Simon Community Midlands Helpline: 087 455 4542
  • Peter McVerry Out of Hours Kildare: 1800 804 307
  • Teach Corrib Day Centre: 091 525259COPE Freephone Helpline : 1800 788 887

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