New plan to help Limerick’s homeless launched

Nick Rabbitts


Nick Rabbitts

Problems: Cllr John Gilligan
A COMPREHENSIVE plan aimed at addressing the homeless problem in the region has been published.

A COMPREHENSIVE plan aimed at addressing the homeless problem in the region has been published.

The Mid-West Regional Homeless Action Plan 2013 to 2018 contains a variety of measures to try to make sleeping rough unnecessary.

It looks at a wide range of issues which causes people to fall into homelessness, including mental health problems, drug addictions, and being the victim of domestic abuse.

The plan - to be finalised by City Council and County Council - wants to see both full-time and voluntary services work together to eliminate homelessness.

Access to emergency hostel beds should be done in an “equitable and transparent manner”, the plan reads.

By the end of this year, it is hoped that an “integrated agency approach” be developed with the Regional Drugs Task Force, the HSE alcohol and drug service and addiction service providers in dealing with the impact of substance misuse.

The strategy also contains proposals to team up the gardai, the HSE, the court services and the councils in a bid to “address the safety and support needs of women survivors of domestic abuse and their children, and facilitate them to access appropriate services and protection.”

By 2014, a policy is also to be put in place for dealing with sex offenders who require homeless services.

The action plan is being put together after input from local authorities region-wide.

After each council adopt it, they will be expected to put together their own separate plans for each area.

Independent councillor John Gilligan says it is worth noting that for the last five years, there have been no deaths from homelessness on Limerick’s streets.

But he added there is a problem with people with psychological issues not being allowed out of hospital in time to claim their social welfare, meaning they might fall into the homeless trap. There needs to be more joined up thinking between the agencies to prevent this happening, he said.