Friday 21 September 2018

WATCH: 'Homeless hydration' - The difficult reality of life on the streets of Dublin during the heatwave

Rachel Farrell and Saskia Vermeulen

WHILE much of the country has been eager to get out of stuffy houses and offices in recent days as temperatures have soared, not everyone is enjoying the highly-unusual Irish heatwave.

Ireland's hottest summer since 1976 is unsurprisingly proving difficult for many who are living on the streets. 

With temperatures creeping towards 30C in Dublin this week, members of the public are constantly reminded to stay hydrated and apply plenty of sun cream. But for many homeless, this simply often isn’t possible.

Members of Dublin's Inner City Helping Homeless (ICHH) started a 'Homeless Hydration' operation this week, to provide as much water and sun cream to homeless people as possible.

A voluntary organisation, ICHH have up to 180 volunteers working at one time and have received donations from multiple companies this week to help the homeless.

An estimated 10,000 bottles of water have been distributed among the homeless this week from ICHH, who received donations from Spar, Lidl Ireland and Coca Cola among others.

The company also received almost 5,000 bottles of sun cream, from all over the country.

Independent.ie went out with ICHH as they distributed supplies throughout the city this morning.

CEO of ICHH, Anthony Flynn, said they've come across many homeless people with sunburn this week.

"There's a big risk of people being dehydrated on the streets of Dublin and a risk of sunstroke as well," he told Independent.ie.

"We're usually planning for a cold weather initiative and ensuring that people have sleeping bags and there's enough warmth through winter periods. We haven't had a summer like this in a very long time."

Anthony encouraged members of the public to keep an eye out for the homeless over the weekend as the good weather continues.

"Over the weekend, town is going to be very busy. You have Pride festival on tomorrow, there's going to be an awful lot of people around town. We advise people that if they do come across a homeless person, they contact our outreach team on 085 838 9281. 

"Our teams are working up to 14 hours a day. If you make that call, if you see someone in any location around Dublin, we'll have a van there within 10 or 15 minutes. 

"Any of the public that are out there over the weekend, something as small as a bottle of water, a token of appreciation would be great."

 The ICHH outreach team are on the streets of Dublin 7 nights a week. According to ICHH, most of their volunteers work full time jobs with some volunteers working up to 60 hours a week with the organisation.

People wishing to volunteer with ICHH can find more information on their website here: https://www.ichh.ie/volunteer/ 

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