Call for cold-weather shelter for rough sleepers

Homeless people should be provided with information to secure accommodation, says Norris

Senator David Norris:  “people regularly die of hypothermia in this country”. Photograph: David Sleator

Senator David Norris: “people regularly die of hypothermia in this country”. Photograph: David Sleator

Wed, Dec 4, 2013, 01:00


Independent Senator David Norris called on the Government to to open a cold-weather shelter for the homeless.

“We have the capacity to open a cold-weather shelter, as there are many empty buildings, including offices,’’ he said. “A property man was on the radio stating he could help to organise such an initiative, so let us do so.’’

Mr Norris said all that was needed was basic equipment, including showers, mattresses, coffee and soup. “If such rudimentary facilities were available, people sleeping in the open could obtain shelter and avoid freezing to death,’’ he added. “Unfortunately, people regularly die of hypothermia in this country.’’

Homeless people should be provided with the necessary information to secure accommodation, he said. “In addition, members of the public could be provided with a helpline number via street placards to assist the homeless,’’ he added.


Cardboard box
Mr Norris said some homeless people could be difficult and awkward. “A lady once lived across the road in a cardboard box on the steps of our offices which were located there many years ago,’’ he added. “She did not want to go anywhere.’’

Supporting Mr Norris’s call for a cold-weather shelter, Paul Bradford of Fine Gael said it was an issue which should be pursued by the Seanad.

“That the matter is before us for debate must cause us to reflect on the fact that while there is a positive and welcome degree of economic progress, there is still, to put it mildly, a subset of society that is living on almost unacceptable levels of reduced means,’’ he added.

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