The Cold Weather Strategy is an initiative that seeks to provide emergency accommodation to rough sleepers during periods of cold or harsh weather as an action to prevent injury or death.
The strategy is coordinated by the Dublin Region Homeless Executive and runs from November to March each year. It may be extended in exceptional circumstances, as was the case in 2013 when the coldest spring in 62 years meant that the scheme ran until the end of April.
The count for Spring 2016, conducted on the same night as Census 2016, found that there were 92 people sleeping rough in the Dublin region. The next scheduled count will take place in November of 2016 and you can volunteer here if you would like to take part in this winter count.
The Cold Weather Strategy provides a number of essential supports to those who are homeless during winter:
Peter McVerry Trust CWI actions for Winter 2015/2016
The 2015 Cold Weather Strategy made provision for an additional 195 beds for individuals, 55 units for families and couples, and a further 80 rooms for families, providing homeless accommodation to over 500 people in the lead up to Christmas 2015.
Housing First ( Rough Sleepers): The Focus Ireland Peter McVerry Trust Housing First service extended its hours of operation based upon on the daily situation. Those persons sleeping rough continued to receive support to secure and access emergency accommodation in tandem with the primary objective of the team to secure permanent housing for rough sleepers.
Converting 1 night only into STA beds (Approx 6 month accommodation): Peter McVerry Trust’s service at Grantham Mews, which operates as a one night only facility, was converted to an 18 bed STA facility offering longer placements and better opportunities for assertive engagement, and progression to permanent housing solutions.
Ringfenced Beds in Existing Homeless Services: Peter McVerry Trust ring fenced beds in three existing services in Dublin City Centre for the CWI.
Family Unit: Peter McVerry Trust opened a specialist unit for homeless families in north Dublin, in a property that underwent extensive renovations and works to bring it back into use. This unit provides supported accommodation for 14 families who also have access to intensive supports dependent upon need.
You can find out more about the Cold Weather Strategy and the Housing First Project at www.homelessdublin.ie.