More than 300 extra emergency beds will open across Dublin in the coming weeks to cater for homeless people over Christmas and New Year.
The additional beds have been announced as part of this year’s cold weather strategy, which will see 2,480 beds provided for homeless adults from now until March.
These do not include hotel and hub beds occupied by homeless families, or 4,708 people, according to the most recent data.
This means almost 7,200 people will be in emergency beds in Dublin alone.
In all, 203 of the new beds will be permanent, with 130 “temporary contingency beds” opening for the duration of the initiative.
In addition, meals will continue to be served at 11 locations supported by the Dublin Region Homeless Executive (DRHE) across the city, in some cases seven days a week. Meals are also served at locations within and outside the city centre and by volunteer-led soup runs that do not receive DRHE funding.
Among the 203 new beds will be four opening in Dún Laoghaire-Rathdown this month and operated by Crosscare. Some 70 will open in west Dublin and Co Kildare, this and next month, managed by the Peter McVerry Trust. Next month a total of 129 will open in Dublin 2 and 4, Fingal and South County Dublin, to be operated by the Peter McVerry Trust and others yet to be confirmed.
The 130 temporary beds will open in Dublin 7 and 8, operated by the Peter McVerry Trust.
The Housing First intake team, which works with people sleeping rough, will increase its outreach presence, operating from 7am to 1am daily. The team will be able to transport vulnerable people to accommodation as necessary.
Any family at risk of sleeping rough, according to the DRHE, will be linked immediately into a “contingency emergency response” already in place.
During the extreme heavy snow in March, an additional 219 beds were put into the system, with 115 accommodated overnight in an extreme cold weather accommodation at a sports centre in Dublin 8 and a further 104 contingency beds put up in corridors and offices in other homeless shelters across the city.
Many of those who took up the extra beds had been previously unknown to homeless services.
Despite the assertive engagement of the intake teams and by medics working with the Safetynet charity – which “sectioned” a number of particularly vulnerable people with mental health difficulties sleeping rough – a number of people chose to continue to sleep outdoors during the heaviest snowfalls in almost 40 years, in March.