To ask the CE the mechanisms in place to combat homelessness this winter in the city?
How many homelessness cases on the streets in the first weekend (4th/5th) of December 2016?
Are their beds available for all homelessness at this point in time in the city (early December 2016)?
How many emergency accommodation units? (Cllr. Kieran McCarthy)
It is worth noting that every year, the Council works with the Homeless Person Unit, as well as with all homeless service providers locally, to secure a Cold Weather Strategy for the winter period. This is in place already for the current year. We have block-booked 20 beds in the City to ensure that no person needs to sleep out this winter, and we do this every year. This will free up beds in emergency shelters to accommodate rough sleepers with the highest support needs. Additional support staff costs within Cork Simon and St. Vincent de Paul will be funded in order to provide the higher levels of support required.
In December 2015 there were 28 families with 67 children in Edel House and Emergency B&B accommodation, currently there are 29 families with 78 children in Edel House and B&B accommodation. The Good Shepherds Cork, who manage Edel House, the emergency shelter for women and children have a dedicated Outreach Worker to meet with all the families and provide visiting support for the families in private emergency accommodation, B&B/hotels.
This will facilitate referrals to the Homeless Action Team, Tusla and other identified family Supports and assist the families and single women in compiling any information that they require for housing or rent allowance applications.
St. Vincent de Paul will continue to key work clients who move from the shelter to B&Bs.
Severe Weather Imitative
As agreed by the Cork Homeless Forum, during cold spells, stormy nights, periods of heavy rain and forecasted flooding in the winter season, Cork Homeless Services working with the Army implement a Severe Weather Initiative. This involves provision of short term Emergency Shelter during periods of severe weather between January and March.
In these circumstances, assuming that no mainstream Emergency Beds or B&B places are available Cork Simon Community outreach team will offer Rough Sleepers access to Emergency Accommodation provided in partnership with the Army and Cork City Council for the period of the weather emergency.
Availability of emergency accommodation does not ensure use, however. With a figure of 6 to 8 on average of rough sleepers, out of a total population in the city of 125,000, and in the county of 500,000 (as homeless people tend to gravitate to the City where the services are based) the situation is definitely capable of resolution. While no level of homelessness is acceptable, we are fortunate as a city to be in a position to resolve this, and are determined to do so.
A breakdown of the types of accommodation available for Homeless persons in Cork City is set out below. These units are provided through various Voluntary Associations and funded by the Department of Environment, Community and Local Government and Cork City Council.