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ADDITIONAL EMERGENCY ACCOMMODATION BEDS PROVIDED

13/12/16

Response to rough sleeping in galway city  provides 14 additional beds

Additional beds have been made available for people who are homeless in Galway City over the winter months.  The now annual Cold Weather Response to address the night time accommodation needs of people who would otherwise sleep rough came into operation on November 30th with the opening of a new night time accommodation project on Seamus Quirke Road attached to the COPE Galway Day Centre for people who are homeless.  This project is due to run until the end of March 2017.  Galway City Council and COPE Galway have worked closely to bring this project into operation.  It has capacity to accommodate up to 14 people each night and those in need of the service who would otherwise sleep rough can access a bed each night from 9.30pm onwards.  On arrival they are provided with a hot meal and there are COPE Galway staff on site to assist and support those availing of a bed for that night and also to identify and progress longer term solutions to their homelessness.   

“Rough sleeping has become increasingly visible in the city in recent weeks and up until November 30th this was largely unavoidable as all emergency accommodation beds were full”, explained Martin O’Connor of COPE Galway.  “However these additional night time beds will help towards ensuring that no one has to sleep rough on the streets of Galway City.”

COPE Galway are appealing to members of the public who have contact with and are engaging with people who are  rough sleeping in the city to spread the word about the Cold Weather Response and also to make contact directly with COPE Galway  with details of locations where people are known to be rough sleeping.  “We are especially anxious that anyone who is rough sleeping knows about the Cold Weather Response and how to access it.  It is entirely a person’s own choice whether they wish to avail of a night time bed or not but we strongly encourage those who need it to use it and we are requesting that the public in Galway help in communicating to people rough sleeping that this service is available and how they can go about accessing it” said Mr O’Connor. 

Mr O’Connor went on to explain that for the past number of weeks staff of COPE Galway have been involved in outreach work in the early hours of the morning in Galway City. They seek out & engage with people rough sleeping from 6am onwards on two mornings each week, with the aim of informing them how to access assistance and encouraging them to do so.  “The 6.00am time frame is important as it is at that time people who are rough sleeping are bedded down and it’s clear that they are homeless.  This initiative has had some success in linking people with services but a small number of people have been less willing or able to engage due to factors such poor mental health, issues around addictions and past abuse”, said Mr O’Connor.

“One of the challenges Galway City is now faced with is how best to respond the issue of rough sleeping.  The generosity towards people who are on the streets is heartening and no doubt is helping ensure that no one goes hungry or cold but it’s important to avoid contributing to sustaining people to remain on the street and sleeping rough” explained Mr O’Connor.  “Our aim is to provide shelter and support for people who sleep rough through the winter period so that no one has to sleep rough and it is to this end that these 14 additional beds have been put in place for the winter months. We are now asking for the help of the public to help direct people who are homeless towards how to access help”. 

Anyone who wants more information about the Cold Weather Response or who wants to bring to the attention of COPE Galway to locations where people are rough sleeping can do so by contacting:

 091 525259 in the day time and 085 2540275 after 9pm each night.  

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Contact:       Martin O’Connor, COPE Galway, Tel: 091 778750, Mobile: 086 6036271,

Email: This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.

Websitewww.copegalway.ie         Facebook COPE Galway       Twitter COPE Galway

COPE Galway is a local Galway Organisation whose vision is an “Improved Quality of Life in a Home of your Own” for people affected by homelessness, women and children experiencing domestic violence, and older people.   In 2015 COPE Galway worked with 659 households and their 369 children affected by homelessness in Galway, including 166 families. 

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