Figures for seven-day periods during the previous months show 211 (June), 201 (July), 212 (August), 208 (September), 218 (October) and 229 persons (November) were accommodated in emergency hostels, transitional accommodation and long term supported housing throughout Limerick.
While acknowledging that the number of people sleeping rough throughout Limerick is “significantly lower” than other urban locations in Ireland, the Council’s Homeless Action Team said it continues to experience “high demand” for emergency accommodation.
The Homeless Action Team is based at No. 2 Church Street, St. John’s Square and is the first point of contact for persons who become homeless. The service is jointly staffed by the Local Authority, Department of Social Protection and the HSE, delivering a multidisciplinary approach to solving homelessness.
“Rough sleeping may occur in our administrative area on occasion, however, with our partnership funding arrangement with the HSE, we have ensured that our emergency accommodation providers have capacity to accommodate those who are willing to accept help,” commented Rob Lowth, Coordinator of Homeless Services, Limerick City and County Council.
Mr. Lowth noted that the Local Authority, the HSE and the NGO’s conduct Street Searches for rough sleepers, the most recent of which took place last Wednesday (10th December) between 12.30am and 2.30am.
“This was a co-ordinated effort between An Garda Síochána in relation to rural areas and smaller towns while the majority of the search took place in the City and key locations in the environs.
“The search found no rough sleepers or no evidence of rough sleeping during this search. While this could change daily, the Homeless Action Team is in regular contact with emergency services and reports will be logged and investigated as a priority by the Team. We also contract an Out of Hours Service with the NGO sector to deliver a 24/7 cover in relation to ensuring solution can be put in place for after 5pm,” he added.
Mr. Lowth said the Council delivers a “vast and extensive” range of services to persons who find themselves homeless or at risk of becoming homeless.
“Accommodation and Support Services are provided on behalf of the Local Authority by a range of Non Government Organisations (NGO’s) who are also Approved Housing Bodies. This allows them to utilise various capital grants via the Local Authority to provide specialist solutions for homeless persons. The types of accommodation range from emergency hostels, transitional accommodation and long term supported housing,” he stated.
“At the Homeless Action Team base in No. 2 Church Street, St. John’s Square, the Duty Officer is the contact staff member for a homeless person or family, a level of reassurance is offered and a full holistic needs assessment is carried out covering everything from accommodation history to mental and physical health. Following assessment the Duty Officer places the person or persons into the most appropriate accommodation available,” concluded Mr. Lowth.
Members of the public are concerned about known rough sleepers are asked to contact the Limerick Homeless Action Team at No: 2 Church Street, St. John’s Square, Limerick, or on Tel: 061 – 481212.