Independent Cllr Kieran McCarthy has called for continued collaboration between the 15 Cork based homelessness service agencies and private emergency accommodation providers, which receive state funding of e5.3m. Cllr McCarthy noted “at a recent Housing committee meeting, we were given the breakdown of the state spend on homelessness in our city and region. The investment is high, which is very welcome and there is much good work going on in the city to help the region’s homeless situation; however, the monthly reports show people in short term emergency accommodation is growing despite the investment of e.890,000 in providing such accommodation – 329 in January 2017, 352 in March 2017. It is clear that the state investment is getting to 95 per cent of people but approximately 12-20 people have more complex needs and complex backgrounds”.
Cork City Council’s April Housing Committee meeting also heard of the Homeless Cold Weather Strategy, run by the Cork Homeless Forum, which consists of statutory and voluntary homeless providers. The period of the strategy ran from November 2016 to March 2017. The Homeless Persons Unit pre-booked 18 additional emergency beds to ensure that no one has to sleep rough during the cold weather; Cllr McCarthy noted; “The strategy was very positive and concentrated on ensuring capacity within the Cork Simon emergency shelter to accommodate those who are rough sleeping and who have support needs. St Vincent de Paul increased their emergency beds by four. In severe weather and assuming no mainstream emergency beds or B&B’s are available, two portacabins, which are placed specifically in Collins Barracks, are used. The portacabins were used four times over the last four months. On three occasions, a total of ten nights provided for 11 individuals in the Barracks”.