Here are the details of the Cold Weather Initiative for homeless and rough sleepers

The Government has unveiled details of plans to provide 200 emergency beds for homeless individuals and rough sleepers as part of its Cold Weather Initiative.

It comes as the Dublin Regional Homeless Executive (DRHE) has reported a total of 184 people were sleeping rough across the Dublin region on the night of November 7.

Housing Minister Eoghan Murphy says his department is currently in the process of delivering the 200 additional permanent emergency beds "so that there will be a bed and all the necessary supports available for anyone who needs them."

The Minister says all of the beds will be brought into use over the coming weeks, and will be in place by December 18.

Mr Murphy adds: "We are entering a cold weather period, when people will be particularly vulnerable.

Eoghan Murphy, Minister for Housing, Planning and Local Government, with Pat Doyle, CEO of the Peter McVerry Trust, as they launched the DRHE’s Cold Weather Strategy today. Pic: Rollingnews.ie

"It is imperative that we have in place a coordinated and robust response for anyone who might be sleeping rough over this period. Hence the need for a Cold Weather Strategy.

The DRHE have published their Cold Weather Strategy - it will see the availability of additional temporary beds and accommodation, if required, in addition to the 200 new beds being announced.

"There will be more than enough spare capacity in the system, as an additional precaution", Minister Murphy says.

The Cold Weather Strategy can also be activated during more extreme weather conditions.

Arrangements are in place with partners such as the Peter McVerry Trust and Focus Ireland to ensure that additional temporary shelter can be brought into use.

Cold weather plans and initiatives are also being advanced across the country.

Minister Murphy says local authorities in major urban centres have confirmed to him that they have "robust contingency arrangements" to meet any additional homeless requirements, as they arise during the winter.

In Cork an additional 25 temporary beds are in place, in Galway 34 temporary beds in place and in Limerick an additional 10 temporary beds in place.

Anthony Flynn, CEO of Inner City Helping Homeless, said: "Today's release of homeless figures further add to what can only be described as systemic failures in society.

"Emergency Accommodation beds being made on December 18th which is far too late. Weather has turned and people are suffering. We are going to see further deaths unless a coordinated effort is taken. The government's emergency task force on homelessness must meet this week with all stakeholders to try and prevent more deaths on our streets before the end of 2017."

    Of the 184 people found sleeping rough on the night of November 7 and into the morning of November 8:

  • 102 persons had previously accessed homeless services , 11 persons had not accessed such services, and of the remaining 71 there was insufficient details available to ascertain whether they had accessed services;
  • 80 persons were Irish nationals, 53 were non-Irish nationals, and the nationality of 51 individuals could not be identified on the night;
  • 70% of persons were discovered in Dublin Inner City (North and South), and the remaining 30% were found in the outskirts and in Fingal, South Dublin and Dun Laoghaire.

    Use of emergency accommodation on the night of November 7 and into the morning of November 8:

  • There were 3,385 adults and 2,335 children in emergency accommodation beds on the night;
  • There were 50 adults accessing the Merchants Quay Night Service. This service provides a core response to persons who are rough sleeping and makes onward referrals to accommodation and support services including; health, addiction and social services;
  • 40 adults who contacted the Free-phone could not be accommodated on the night;
  • There were 3 empty beds in female services.

Sam McGuinness on behalf of Dublin Simon Community said: "This high figure is concerning and disappointing, however we welcome the Ministers’ announcement of an extra 200 permanent emergency beds in the capital to address the demand."

Homelessness Charity Depaul said that the 184 people sleeping rough on the streets of Dublin is an increase of nearly 30% year on year.

According to the charity, this time last year they had 102 emergency beds in its services across Dublin. Today, the organisation has 198 beds, as well as two emergency family rooms, and all the beds are filled each night.

A total of 112 of Depaul’s 198 emergency beds are Assertive Engagement, an initiative whereby the service user is given support in taking steps to move on from sleeping rough and in emergency accommodation.

Depaul CEO Kerry Anthony said: "These latest Rough Sleeper numbers are extremely worrying, just a couple of months ago I stood in Little Britain Street emergency hostel for the launch of our annual report and called on Government to provide more accommodation, move-on options and Assertive Engagement for singles.

"In order to do valuable work in moving people on from the one night only system and sleeping rough there needs to be a focus on Assertive Engagement so people on the edges of society can begin building relationships and trust with support and services.

"When people come to the door of our hostels, we must do meaningful work to help them move on from homelessness."


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