Agency warns of risk to homeless as Storm Ophelia hits

ICHH says it has been forced to “step in and put a plan in place” to protect the homeless

Agency warns of risk to homeless as Storm Ophelia hits

A man asking for money at the Ha'Penny Bridge, Dublin in 2007 | Image: Albert Gonzalez/RollingNews.ie

Updated 13:50

Extra emergency beds are being made available for rough sleepers as Storm Ophelia approaches.

Homeless charities across the country have opened their doors to provide emergency accommodation for anyone in need of shelter.

The Housing Minister has announced that rough sleeper teams are on the ground offering shelter to people.

Housing Director with Cork City Council Valerie O'Sullivan says the situation is under control in Cork:

"Our emergency shelters would be either full or pretty full," she said. "But that is to be expected t this time of year.

"Nothing out of the ordinary on the homeless front has come our way and we are monitoring it constantly here in the coordination centre.

"All is good so far."

Capuchin Day Centre

Meanwhile, an additional 120 beds will be opened at the Capuchin Day Centre from 6:30pm.

It is the first time the centre has opened its doors to take in sleepers.

The manager of the centre Alan Bailey said many of those who came in for food will now wait out the storm inside the centre.

"We have taken the unprecedented step of staying open all night tonight to cater for these people who were going to be on the streets," he said.

"It is a sad indictment to see all the concern that has been expressed about animals on farms and things like that

"But, the homeless people - it doesn't seem like anybody mentioned them at all."

He said volunteers are unsure what will happen later on tonight.

"We are here to help people," he said. "We have contingency plans in place."

"Brother Kevin has been working on this since yesterday evening - so we are hoping that we have everything covered."

Inner City Helping Homeless

Inner City Helping Homeless (ICHH) CEO Anthony Flynn said the plight of the homeless was not mentioned during an earlier meeting of the National Emergency Coordination Group ahead of the storm.

He said homeless agencies have had to “step in and put a plan in place.”

“We have had multiple statements from government to say take you cats and your dogs in but what we haven’t seen is any response in regard to actually taking the 150 or the 180 people on average that are sleeping rough within the city,” he said.

“We have an extra 120 beds being managed throughout the day and overnight on foot of the red alert from Met Éireann.

“The Capuchin Day Centre will be open and they will be supported by support teams from Inner City Helping Homeless in managing those beds.”

Mr Flynn said there is a “real concern that more homeless deaths will occur” as the storm hits.

He added that ICHH has requested a meeting later this morning with all homeless NGOs and the Dublin Regional Homeless Executive (DRHE) to put a plan in place.