Tuesday 26 March 2019

New night cafe opens its doors for city's homeless

night cafe
night cafe
09/01/2015 Cows Lane on Temple Bar where the body of a homeless man was found. Photo: Gareth Chaney Collins

A NEW facility to give Dublin's homeless community a place to visit at night has been opened in the city centre.

The night cafe on Merchants Quay, Dublin 8, opened its doors last night and will be fully operational seven nights a week.

The service will provide for homeless people from 11pm until 7.30am.

The Merchants Quay Ireland (MQI) night cafe will provide a range of different services for people experiencing homelessness or who suffer from drug abuse, including shower facilities, light meals and brief interventions on addiction and mental health.

The initiative is part of the Government's 20-point action plan to respond to key concerns of homelessness, particularly in the Dublin region.

The plan was launched by Minister for the Environment Alan Kelly on December 9 of last year, and seeks to implement practical measures to improve the homeless situation.

The night cafe, which is the first of its kind in Dublin, will operate in conjunction with the HSE, local authorities and several state-funded homeless services.

However, the cafe will not be a 'walk-in' service, with clients having to access through the Housing First service on the local authority.

The cafe will initially cater for 30 people, but the capacity could be increased to provide for 50 persons pending a review at the end of this month.

The Merchants Quay centre already provides for dozens of people every day, and offers a range of facilities including workshops, a cafeteria and a 'quiet room', which allows a person to rest for two hours in the afternoon.

The 'quiet room' offers users a chance to rest in a secure and monitored environment, which a member of MQI said they wouldn't get sleeping rough for fear of their belongings being robbed. The opening of the cafe comes less than two weeks after a 54-year-old homeless man was found dead in the Temple Bar area of the city.

Lithuanian national Vytautas Virzintas' body was discovered in Cows Lane on January 9.

It is believed he had been sleeping rough for several years, and often availed of the facilities at the Merchants Quay Centre.


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