Sunday 19 November 2017

Hundred extra beds being made available to help city's homeless

19/12/14 Lord Mayor Christy Burke, Christmas interview with Niall O'Connor. Picture:Arthur Carron
19/12/14 Lord Mayor Christy Burke, Christmas interview with Niall O'Connor. Picture:Arthur Carron

Extra beds are being made available in Dublin city centre this week to help bring the homeless off the streets at night.

The Dublin Region Homeless Executive confirmed that 100 beds are being being provided  as part of the annual cold-weather initiative.

“The beds are due to be opened towards the end of this week,” a spokesperson told the Herald. “The aim of the initiative is to prevent fatalities or serious harm and to provide an emergency humanitarian response to the needs of persons who may be sleeping rough during cold weather.

“It provides additional beds to the existing number of beds available on a nightly basis in the Dublin region.

“Every year we bring this initiative in from November through to the end of March or beginning of April. We absolutely need to make sure that within this period that we have sufficient overnight cover, particularly if we hit zero temperatures.”

The beds – based at a centre on Thomas Street – are being made available to 80 single men and 20 single women and support will be provided by Crosscare. The HSE will provide the primary care needs of users.

There has been a huge amount of work carried out over the last few weeks retrofitting the building, with three-bedroom, double and single units.

The men and women’s unit are separate, and full capacity is expected in the first day or two.

Independent councillor Christy Burke said that last Thursday night there were 79 people sleeping rough in Dublin, including 14 women. “The night before there was 82, of which 20 were women,” he told the Herald.

He said that while the extra beds are welcome, more are needed on an ongoing basis to deal with the situation.

Hard times

“The initiative should not stop in April, it should remain,” he said. “It’s just not getting any better.”

Mr Burke pointed out that there are many people in blue sleeping bags who have fallen on hard times, from all walks of life. 

Meanwhile, The Simon ­Community announced it would renew its partnership with Nestle Ireland for ongoing support.

Over the past six years Nestle has provided more than 2.5m cups of coffee to the  Dublin and Cork Simon Communities services which work to prevent and address homelessness by offering support, housing and vital services to people at risk.

The Food for Simon programme also includes KitKats provided to the supported housing services.

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