Extra homeless accommodation for cold snap

Sinn Féin councillor Sharon Benson.

AS night time temperatures drop, Limerick City and County Council has said it will provide additional emergency accommodation where necessary in the event of a cold or extreme weather warning.

The council was responding to Limerick City Sinn Fein councillor, Sharon Benson, who asked the local authority on November 27th to “urgently increase emergency accommodation capacity in both the city and county, particularly to cater for the shortage of bed spaces for single men and women”.

In response, the Council said: “Limerick City & County Council have increased beds in emergency accommodation in Limerick this winter. In September 2023 we had capacity for 137 singles, as of 23 November there is capacity for 159 individuals. If a cold or extreme weather warning is called we will be in a position to provide further additional spaces as necessary.”

The council said its homeless-response “Street Outreach team” had “increased” its hours and capacity also, “to engage with any customers who may be sleeping rough and supporting them to access beds, addiction and mental health supports”.

“The homeless unit are continually working with service providers to bring beds into use for customers who are presenting to HAT (homeless action team) seeking a service and who are deemed as homeless in accordance with Section 2 Housing Act 1988.”

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The council said that “in addition” to emergency bed provision, it planned to allocate “a further six Housing First units to customers before Christmas therefore creating not only long-term tenancies but also creating vacancies in hostels”.

“To note 83 individuals have moved on from emergency accommodation this year from January to September, with a number of additional moves planned before year end,” stated Mary Hayes, Senior Executive Officer Housing Support Services, in a letter responding to Cllr Benson.