The Dublin Region Homeless Executive (DRHE) has announced details of the Cold Weather Strategy 2017, new facilities and enhanced service options to meet demand for homeless emergency accommodation and to tackle rough sleeping.
This comes as the highest number of rough sleepers in Dublin was recorded by the DRHE on 7 November, with 184 people found on the streets that night compared with the previous highest figure of 168 recorded during winter 2014.
The figure also represents a steady increase from 161 in the spring count and 142 last winter.
The rough sleeper figures have increased despite the provision of 241 extra beds since last year.
The impact of severe weather can be immediately life threatening to people who are rough sleeping and it is essential to have a coordinated response in order to mitigate against the risk of exposure.
DRHE say emergency accommodation provision for adults in Dublin is being expanded by of 200+ permanent bed spaces with an additional 50 temporary bed spaces available for the winter period.
Within the context of increased demand for access to emergency accommodation the expansion of provision by 200+ additional bed spaces is required in order to ensure no person is forced to sleep rough.
“The 200+ bed spaces are distributed across seven new emergency accommodation facilities which will be operated by our partner agencies in the charity sector.
“Each of the Service providers has extensive experience in the delivery of services to persons who are homeless and have staff with the required skills and competencies. Each is established under a Service Level Agreement (SLA) with the DRHE.
“Once a person has been assessed as homeless by the relevant Dublin local authority, they will be placed into a bed space via the Dublin Region Central Placement Service and Freephone Service.”
Each service will provide a light meal in the evening, breakfast and bathroom facilities. Support services are provided to ensure targeted responses to any acute support needs.
Services operate throughout the year to support persons who are rough sleeping, there is however, an increased emphasis on the level of service provision during the cold weather period. The cold weather period provides opportunities for engagement with long-term rough sleepers and hard-to-reach groups, where increased supports need to be available.
During the cold weather period the Housing First Intake Team operate from 7 a.m. – 1 a.m. every day, allowing flexibility according to the need presenting on any given night. Furthermore the staffing of the Intake Team will increase by two for the cold weather period, to enable broader engagement with persons sleeping rough across the Dublin Region.
Arrangements are in place with service providers that additional temporary shelter can be brought into use across a range of existing services and facilities for singles, couples and families on a temporary basis during adverse or extreme weather conditions, as occurred during the recent storms
A contingency emergency response is already in place for any family who may be at risk of sleeping rough at night
Arrangements are in place between the DRHE, the Gardai, Housing First, Central Placement Service and the HSE with a view to improving outcomes for people that may be sleeping rough
The DRHE are extremely grateful for the ongoing cooperation and assistance from our partners in the charity sector including the many service providers and all those involved in the voluntary network.