CALLS have been made to give Novas, the homeless support agency, enough money to employ an extra staff member so that homeless people can sleep on the floor in the reception area rather than brave freezing temperatures in squats.
And an elected member of the Metropolitan District committee of the council has said that it is not true to say, as was claimed at the meeting, that there have been no deaths n the street among the homeless since 2009.
Cllr Sean Lynch, who is a retired Garda, said that he had “personally had to deal with a situation where a homeless man was found in an industrial facility.
“It was not a pretty task to have to go through rubbish to find the man and identify him”, he said.
The meeting heard that it costs just €165 per night to employ an extra staff member to satisfy conditions to allow street people to sleep in the reception area of Novas, the homeless support agency.
The motion to have the local authority fund the measure came from Cllr Cian Prendeville (AAA), who said that because of the great work being done by the agencies in Limerick, “the situation is not as bad here as it is in other cities”.
Cllr Prenderville said his motion was prompted by the recent tragic death of a homeless man in Dublin, yards from Leinster House.
“The funding for Novas would allow them to bring an extra staff member in. On cold nights, people who had planned to sleep in a squat often change their minds and try to look for something better.
“A lot of these people do not register as homeless. On particularly cold nights, Novas would employ an extra person rather than send these people back out”, he said.
Several members paid tribute to the work being done by the Novas agency but Limerick City and County Council’s Director of Homeless Services, Rob Lowth, said there are “many smaller charities and agencies involved in providing services”.