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COLD WEATHER RESPONSE TO ROUGH SLEEPING OVER WINTER MONTHS BEGINS

7th December 2017

Galway Public are asked for Help with Directing those who might otherwise sleep rough to the Cold Weather Response Service

The annual Cold Weather Response to address the night time accommodation needs of people who would otherwise sleep rough is now up and running.  Anyone in need of the service can access a bed each night from 9.30pm onwards at the COPE Galway Cold Weather Response on Seamus Quirke Road.  Those accommodated will be provided with a hot meal, and offered follow-up homeless services.

“The Cold Weather Response has more beds than ever thanks to Galway City Council leading out on the provision of 31 additional beds for the winter period in conjunction with COPE Galway and Galway Simon Community and with the support of the HSE,” explained Martin O’Connor of COPE Galway.  “21 of these beds at COPE Galway’s Cold Weather Response on Seamus Quirke Road can be accessed directly each night from 9.30pm onwards. The aim is to ensure that no one has to sleep rough over the winter period”.   

COPE Galway is asking the Galway public for their assistance to help ensure that anyone who is rough sleeping knows about these additional beds and how to access them. They are asked to make contact directly with COPE Galway with details of locations where people are known to be rough sleeping.

“While rough sleeping was unfortunately unavoidable over recent months for some due to a shortage of emergency accommodation this is no longer the case for the winter period” explained Mr O’Connor.  “We now need the assistance of the people and businesses of Galway to get the word out about these additional beds. We will also continue to reach out to people who are identified to us as rough sleeping, to engage with and encourage them to use these beds.” 

Mr O’Connor went onto say that despite emergency accommodation beds now being available there are real concerns that some people will not avail of these beds.  “There are a small number of people who we fear won’t use the beds that are available.  We know from experience that factors such as poor mental health, issues around addictions and past abuse contribute to this situation as does the choices some people make but we will continue to try to get people in off the streets and especially so during periods of poor weather. We ask the Galway public in the meantime to be mindful that it is simply not helpful to give money to those rough-sleeping when we have services, support and food available and when people engage with us for these supports we can help address the underlying issues”.

“The visibility of rough sleeping in the City centre in recent weeks has resulted in much public comment and COPE Galway has fielded numerous enquiries from people about what can be done to alleviate this situation and how people can help.  We are continuing to engage with people rough sleeping in the City Centre and want to ensure that they are fully aware of what accommodation and supports are available to them.  It’s then their choice if they want to take up on this”.  

For anyone seeking information about the Cold Weather Response or needing to bring to COPE Galway’s attention the locations where people are rough sleeping, you can do so by contacting:

091 525259 (day time)

085 8009641 (after 9pm)

1800 788887 (Emergency Freephone after 7pm)

The new night-time beds at Seamus Quirke Road will be available to rough sleepers until April 2018.

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Contact:        Martin O’Connor, Asst. CEO, COPE Galway. Tel 091 778750

Note to Editor:

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 2016 COPE Galway worked with 702 adults and their 512 children affected by homelessness in Galway, including 211 families and 438 single people. The organisation joins the national call for solutions to end the housing and homeless crisis.  However, while national solutions are being progressed, COPE Galway believes that more immediate solutions can be put in place at a local level.

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