Text: Izzy Copestake
As temperatures drop as low as -6 in places, Ireland’s homeless population are in serious danger.
Without proper shelter, temperatures like these can be deadly. The Dublin Region Homeless Executive (DRHE) confirmed it had triggered its “extreme weather emergency protocol” earlier in January, which includes opening 40 additional beds to the 330 extra beds already opened as part of the cold weather strategy. Yet tragically, just last week, a man was found dead while sleeping rough on the streets of Dublin. The awful news came after homelessness organisations informed the Government that they had “profound concerns” about a potential move to restrict access to emergency accommodation. According to doctors at the Granby clinic, which provides medical care to homeless people, there has been a huge surge in viral infections, with pneumonia and hypothermia becoming of increasing concern as the temperatures stay low. Here’s what you can do to help:
1.If you see someone sleeping rough, report it. This is the most essential step to get people out of the cold. For Dublin, use this website, or report to Dublin Homeless Awareness’s social media pages. For Cork, contact the Cork Simon Outreach Team at (021) 427 8728. Louth County Council can be contacted out of hours on 1890 202 303. The Limerick Homeless Action Team can be reached on its out of hours number: 1800 606060. For Galway contact COPE out of hours on 1800 788 887 For Kerry, contact NOVAS Arlington Lodge on +353 66 719 3800 Kilkenny council’s emergency call centre number is 056 7794145. Meath County Council’s out of hour’s number is 1890 445 335.
2. Be Respectful and Give What You Can. Whether somebody is living in emergency accommodation, sleeping rough or is experiencing hidden homelessness, it’s important to first and foremost show respect. If you have change to spare, offer it, or if you can – offer to buy the person a drink or some food.
3. Donate Clothes in Good Condition. Warm clothes at this time of year are essential. Donate clothes which are in good condition to local charities such as Merchants Quay Ireland , Saoirse or The Dublin Simon Community .
4. Put Pressure on the Government. The homelessness crisis has been caused by a lack of public housing and a crippling cost of living crisis, pushing people out of the rental market with nowhere to go. Keep talking about the issue, attend protests and contact your local representative to keep pushing for change.
Elsewhere on District: Inside Ireland’s Youth Loneliness Epidemic