Homeless outreach service Novas is confident that rough sleepers in Limerick will have shelter during Storm Emma but have advised the public to report concerns about people sleeping rough.
Mid-West Simon homeless services have also opened an emergency drop-in centre at Bridge Street, across from City Hall. This centre will be open 24 hours a day, and serves hot meals with two communal spaces for clients.
Homeless services have been extended as Limerick braces itself for blizzard like conditions and sub-zero temperatures ahead of the arrival of Storm Emma this Thursday afternoon.
Approximately 700 people have availed of Mid-West Simon's food bank in the past week, its chief executive Jacqui Bonfield told the Leader.
Additional beds have been provided in Limerick ahead of the storm, although a street outreach programme due to take place this evening has been cancelled due to the blizzard, according to Una Burns of Novas.
“I think between all the services providers in the city, we’re confident that everyone will be in,” Ms Burns said.
However, anyone with concerns over rough sleepers should call 1800 60 60 60, she added.
“Ring 1800 60 60 60. That number is operated by the Limerick Homeless Action Team until 5pm and then Novas takes it over out of hours and between us we will try to get to anybody.”
Unfortunately our Street Outreach is cancelled tonight due to blizzard. However our TEP service is open 24/7 until at least Monday, extra provision in McGarry & BRH and @midwestsimon have opened an emergency shelter on Bridge St. @ilovelimerick @FintanYTWalsh @Nick468official— Novas (@novasireland) March 1, 2018
“We will do our utmost to get to anyone, to anyone you think may be rough sleeping or in a squat or somewhere, please do let us know.”
“We have extended our temporary services; we normally operate from 9pm to 9am and that’s going to be open 24/7, and has been open and will be open until Monday.”
In response to the cold weather, we have opened an emergency drop in center in Limerick. The centre is open 24 hours a day, serving hot meals. Call 061-608980, please spread the word and stay safe. Thank you to @Shslimerick for donating tableware!— Mid West Simon (@midwestsimon) February 28, 2018
“We have additional spaces there and we have additional spaces in McGarry House and in Brother Russell House."
Novas services contingency arrangements & extension of services for cold snap: https://t.co/4NAm4mh0xw#BeastFromTheEast @LimerickCouncil @radiokerry @countykerry @HomelessDublin @FintanYTWalsh @ilovelimerick @LimerickToday @Limerick_Leader @LimerickVoice @SeanLynchff pic.twitter.com/JSKFkKLri2— Novas (@novasireland) February 26, 2018
"We’re doing all that in conjunction with Limerick City and County Council. The 24 hour helpline will operate as normal.”
“The only thing that is affected for our services is our Street Outreach programme. That’s not going tonight at 7pm because it's right in the middle of the blizzard and our van just wouldn’t be able to travel.”
While there have been no reports of homeless people seeking medical treatment at UHL as a result of the cold, but Ms Bonfield said a number of homeless people "have arrived [at the centre] really, really cold".
Ms Bonfield, who met with council officials this week, said that Limerick City and County Council has "really upped their game" in terms of reacting to the weather warning.