Council to count rough sleepers

Louth County Council is to lead the now annual count of rough sleepers in the North East, comprising Counties Louth, Cavan and Monaghan.

Louth County Council is to lead the now annual count of rough sleepers in the North East, comprising Counties Louth, Cavan and Monaghan.

Last year’s count found three people sleeping rough in Dundalk, but with a number of shelters facing cutbacks, some believe that number will rise for 2013. The count will take place on Tuesday night, November 12. The count will commence at midnight and see teams visit locations where there may have been historical or current rough sleeping.

Speaking to the Democrat Niall Mulligan of the Dundalk Simon Community said he’d prefer not to second guess the resutls of the count, but said that it had been a suggestion that there had been an increase in people sleeping rough in Dublin.

“I don’t know what the result of the survey will.

“We have seen a number of tragedies here in Dundalk, with homeless people losing their lives, and Simon research shows that the average age of death for someone living in emergency accomodation or sleeping rough in Ireland was just 38, roughly 40 years less than the national life expectancy.

“It seems to be the strategy fo the government to have less people in emergency accomadation and to get them into local authority housing as quick as possible.”

Any member of the public who is aware of someone sleeping rough or locations where they believe this to be occurring is asked to contact Homeless Services on email homeless@louthcoco.ie before November 11.

The aim of the count, which forms part of a national initiative, is to allow local authorities and other agencies to develop appropriate supports to encourage those sleeping rough to engage and move into more stable, longer-term accommodation.

Joe McGuinness, Chair of the North East Regional Consultative Forum said: “It is important in planning our future provision of emergency accommodation and support services, that we have an accurate picture of who is sleeping rough. This count will allow us to better coordinate services and use resources to best effect.”

“There is a very specific definition of rough sleeping so it excludes those in hostel or other short-term accommodation. Our specific interest for the November 13 count is to accurately track the number of people sleeping outside or in buildings, vehicles or structures not designed for habitation.”