Saturday 3 December 2016

Almost 200 new beds for homeless in Dublin for winter

Published 04/11/2015 | 08:10

The Dublin Simon Community has called on the government to put together a package to stem the flow of people falling into homelessness
The Dublin Simon Community has called on the government to put together a package to stem the flow of people falling into homelessness

Some 195 new extra emergency accommodation beds have been confirmed for Dublin as part of the Cold Weather Initiative.

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Some 55 units are also being available for families and couples in the Dublin region.

Cathal Morgan, Director of the Dublin Region Homeless Executive said today that no families or individuals should be homeless this winter. The top up of the number of beds will bring the total to 3,300.

“We will put in place 195 beds to cover the winter period, we will also be putting in place a whole range of measures for families who become homeless,” he told RTE's Morning Ireland.

“Last winter, we put in place 271 new beds, they’re still in place. We’re seeing a rise in rough sleeping again despite the interventions being put in place.”

“It’s not just about providing emergency cover for single people and rough sleepers, but also families.”

Between 100 and 150 people are still sleeping rough in Dublin, he said, but he stressed that the sole focus in tackling homelessness should not be only in providing emergency shelter.

“We have to stem the flow coming at us.”

He added: “It’s not a case that people come into homeless services and don’t move through. We do see throughput of individuals moving through the system.”

“We will do as much as we can to get people off the streets. We have to emphasise the work of An Garda Siochana as well.”

Some 37 family units are opening in Glasnevin and Ballymun plaza, which started taking in people in the past few days. Meanwhile, 18 long-term units for couples will also open on Sean McDermott Street later this month.

A further 20 single beds will be put in by the Civil Defence place during the extreme cold weather and a further 80 rooms are yet to be confirmed for families.

The beds will be available from this month and will remain available until the end of April, according to the Dublin Regional Homeless Executive (DRHE).

There will be at least 100 single beds for men and women at a temporary night shelter in Dublin city. The beds in Thomas Street will be available later this month.

Homeless charity the Peter McVerry Trust praised theExecutive but said there was more to be done.

Peter McVerry Trust CEO Pat Doyle said: "In the first nine months of 2015, the homeless sector in Dublin has moved 729 people out of homelessness, an increase of over 200 on the same period last year.

"In the first nine months of 2015, the homeless sector in Dublin has moved 729 people out of homelessness, an increase of over 200 on the same period last year.

“Despite that increase and despite the 271 new beds added to the homeless system in Dublin last winter, we face a situation where we need to add an even larger number this winter."

“The reality is that the Cold Weather Initiative is planning to provide additional homeless accommodation to over 500 people between now and Christmas.

"That in itself is a scandalous reflection of the failure by Government to protect those most at risk in Irish society."

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