Waterford City & County Council is set to install four ‘rough sleeper units’ on grounds to the rear of the Saint Vincent de Paul McGwire House Hostel on Bath Street.
In an email circulated to Councillors, Sinéad Breathnach (Administrative Officer for Homeless Services) said that these grounds were being prepared “on a pilot basis” in conjunction with McGwire House, the LUB (homeless) Project and the HSE.
“We hope to have the units in place before December and this will cater for four of our most vulnerable rough sleepers,” she added.
“We are also in talks with our Housing First service providers to see if appropriate accommodation and supports can be given to the remainder of the rough sleeper clients.”
Ms Breathnach told Councillors that, as of Tuesday, October 18th, the Council had recorded 13 rough sleepers over the previous week, adding that “this varies on a weekly basis between five and fifteen”.
The circular noted that when an official national count was carried out on a night in April, “there were no rough sleepers located in Waterford…only rough sleepers in open or public spaces can be included in the national count. Those in squats cannot be included”.
Ms Breathnach also noted that the majority of rough sleepers have “complex needs and are barred from homeless services due to their behaviours and addictions”.
She added: “The majority of the rough sleepers have complex needs and are barred from homeless services due to their behaviours and addictions…However, outreach staff from the LUB Project are engaging with the rough sleepers in Waterford, including those in squats, and a record is kept at our weekly Homeless Action Team meeting.”
Regarding those engaged with the emergency homeless services as of mid-October, “we currently have 15 adults and 15 children in private emergency homeless accommodation,” in either a B&B or Hotel.
Metropolitan Council members have also requested a briefing with the Council’s Homeless Services office to address the situation further.