Friday 28 October 2016

Homeless beds scheme is now set to run all year

Man sleeping rough on Bachelors Way, off Bachelors Walk, Dublin
Man sleeping rough on Bachelors Way, off Bachelors Walk, Dublin

The cold-weather beds initiative, provided for homeless people in the capital, is to continue throughout the year.

The programme generally runs from November until the end of March but the Dublin Region Homeless Executive (DHRE) confirmed to the Herald that most of the 126 beds will be retained.

While the capital basked in sunshine yesterday, temperatures were still expected to plunge to 2C with a risk of frost last night.

The DHRE has overall responsibility for the coordination of homeless services across all Dublin local authorities.


There were concerns that these extra beds would be cut despite the surge in homelessness before Christmas. Yesterday many homeless people were spotted sleeping rough on the city's streets and laneways.

"We are retaining the majority of the cold weather initiative beds after April 30, 2015 to meet the level of presenting need to homeless services," a spokeswoman for DHRE said.

"Any specific cold-weather initiative beds that are closing at the end of April are being replaced with other additional beds within alternative accommodation provision."

These cold-weather beds come on stream every year during the November to March period in Dublin and are separate to the 271 extra emergency beds provided last December, after the announcement of the Government's 20-point Action Plan on Homelessness.

Lord Mayor Christy Burke called for these cold-weather beds to be replaced when the scheme ended.

"There must be a direct exchange (of beds)," Mr Burke said.

He said that Inner City Helping Homeless (ICHH), a charity which feeds and clothes rough sleepers in Dublin at night, is seeing a renewed increase in demand for its services.

"ICHH has again seen an increase in rough sleepers," Mr Burke said.

On Monday night last week the charity met 80 rough sleepers across the city centre.

The official rough sleeper count by DRHE last November found that a minimum of 168 adult individuals were sleeping rough on the night of November 11, 2014.

The next official count will take place on April 14.


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