Wednesday, 14 November 2018
Ceisteanna Eile - Other Questions
Homeless Persons Data
I understand and share the Deputy's concern. As the Minister responsible, I visited said sports hall during Storm Emma. The Peter McVerry Trust did significant work to get that facility in place. What was needed, primarily, was safe and warm shelter for people but they were also provided with medical attention and food. The Deputy is correct that these people would not traditionally have been sleeping rough. They were squatting or were in other forms of accommodation. The most important issue was to get them to safety.
As I said earlier, the rough sleeper count from March of this year showed 110 people but we will put in place approximately 250 new emergency beds before the end of the year, with another 40 to come on stream in January. In addition, we are setting up a permanent, standing emergency solution to deal with major storm events and other natural disasters or God forbid, more malicious incidents requiring the immediate provision of emergency accommodation. Half those beds will be in place before the end of November, with the other half to come on stream later. This is in addition to the 250 beds I have mentioned. It is a further contingency for incidents like Storm Emma, for people of whom we are not aware or should something else happen. Each time these events happen, we learn from them and money is available to put in place the additional supports needed.