Local councillors have once more called for the introduction of an outreach service for those presenting as homeless in Bray. Currently those who are homeless or at risk of homelessness have to travel to the Wicklow County Council buildings to receive support from the local authority, this in spite of a 2020 motion tabled in the Bray Municipal District meeting, supported by all eight councillors, which called for a local outreach service.
With the housing crisis worsening and the lack of available properties in the area at an all-time low, councillors have once more reiterated the need for this service.
“At the moment, people who are homeless or at risk of homelessness in Bray have to present themselves – often with their children - to Wicklow County Council buildings, said Sinn Féin Councillor Grace McManus. “This is costly in time and finance, especially when we are talking about people in very challenging financial, emotional and traumatic times. We recognised this issue in the pre-pandemic times of 2019, and passed a motion at Bray Municipal District calling for the service to be provided at the Bray council offices to address this.
“We have consistently outlined the need for this service since that motion, based on our experiences working with people who are homeless, and council officials have listened, and have been working to provide this vital resource in the town. It was confirmed at our recent Municipal District meeting that this service will be provided, and I think that is a significant step in terms of positive change.”
Her party colleague, Councillor Dermot 'Daisy' O'Brien, who is also a member of the Bray Homeless Forum, said there could be no further delays in setting up this service.
"The unfortunate reality is that because of the failure of Government policy, many people who are suffering from housing distress and homelessness are based in the wider Bray area,” he said. “To be in a position to provide an outreach service to these people locally is an absolute necessity if we want to have a meaningful impact. The experience and related impacts of homelessness are very time sensitive, every day that you are not in a position to access support services is an extra day of risk. The sooner this service is back up and running, the better."
And Cllr McManus said the introduction of a Bray-specific service would alleviate at least some of the pressure on those facing difficulties acquiring suitable accommodation.
“My ultimate hope is that this change will have the biggest impact on our people who are experiencing very vulnerable times, and assist them to get the support they need, when they need it, where they need it,” she said.