Council urged to help out the homeless this winter

Pic: Gareth Williams

LIMERICK City and County Council has been urged to take action to provide sufficient shelter for the homeless this winter.

At this Monday’s Metropolitan District meeting of the City and County Council, Sinn Féin councillor Sharon Benson asked what additional plans have been made to provide emergency accommodation for the homeless during the cold spell.

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“Temporary accommodation opened three years ago to prevent people from having to sleep out at night. But there is nothing temporary about three years for those who are walking the streets from nine in the morning until nine at night,” the City North representative told the council executive.

“We need to support our people. Three years ago, a lady died on the streets and nothing has been done about it.”

Cllr Benson went onto reveal that one man, who after getting methadone from his doctor, is left with no option but to go take his medication in a public toilet in a city shopping centre.

“He has nowhere else to go to detox and so he sleeps it off in a public toilet.”

Cllr John Costelloe (SF) urged the council to put a proper strategy in place to help the city’s homeless.

“We need to open our doors to the vulnerable in our community. It shouldn’t have to be like this,” he added.

Rob Lowth of the Housing Support Services said that from November 1, the council has provided 30 temporary emergency beds to homeless people in addition to the 101 hostel beds available to them.

“As part of the cold weather initiative, an additional 14 beds are available through the emergency accommodation providers. Potentially, Limerick can have 152 beds in total if required,” he told the city councillors.