Cold Weather Strategy 2017 launched to cater for demand for homeless emergency accommodation and to tackle rough sleeping in Dublin

Dublin Region Homeless Executive confirms emergency accommodation expansion of 200+ new bed spaces in Dublin

Official winter Rough Sleeping Count confirms 184 persons rough sleeping on the night of November 7th and into the morning of 8th November 2017

New bed spaces coming into use from 22nd November and in full use by end of December 2017 will ensure sufficient emergency accommodation is provided for all rough sleepers that seek it

The Dublin Region Homeless Executive (DRHE) today (November 22nd) announced details of the Cold Weather Strategy 2017, additional new facilities and enhanced service options to meet demand for homeless emergency accommodation and to tackle rough sleeping.

The impact of severe weather can be immediately life threatening to people who are rough sleeping and it is essential to have a coordinated response in order to mitigate against the risk of exposure.  Emergency accommodation provision for adults in Dublin is being expanded by of 200+ permanent bed spaces with an additional 50 temporary bed spaces available for the winter period.  Within the context of increased demand for access to emergency accommodation the expansion of provision by 200+ additional bed spaces is required in order to ensure no person is forced to sleep rough.

The 200+ bed spaces are distributed across seven new emergency accommodation facilities which will be operated by our partner agencies in the charity sector.  Each of the Service providers has extensive experience in the delivery of services to persons who are homeless and have staff with the required skills and competencies.  Each is established under a Service Level Agreement (SLA) with the DRHE.

Once a person has been assessed as homeless by the relevant Dublin local authority, they will be placed into a bed space via the Dublin Region Central Placement Service and Freephone Service.

Each service will provide a light meal in the evening, breakfast and bathroom facilities.  Support services are provided to ensure targeted responses to any acute support needs.  

Enhanced service options operational during cold weather conditions

Services operate throughout the year to support persons who are rough sleeping, there is however, an increased emphasis on the level of service provision during the cold weather period.   The cold weather period provides opportunities for engagement with long-term rough sleepers and hard-to-reach groups, where increased supports need to be available.  

During the cold weather period the Housing First Intake Team operate from 7 a.m. – 1 a.m. every day, allowing flexibility according to the need presenting on any given night.  Furthermore the staffing of the Intake Team will increase by two for the cold weather period, to enable broader engagement with persons sleeping rough across the Dublin Region.

Arrangements are in place with service providers that additional temporary shelter can be brought into use across a range of existing services and facilities for singles, couples and families on a temporary basis during adverse or extreme weather conditions, as occurred during the recent storms

A contingency emergency response is already in place for any family who may be at risk of sleeping rough at night

Arrangements are in place between the DRHE, the Gardai, Housing First, Central Placement Service and the HSE with a view to improving outcomes for people that may be sleeping rough

The DRHE are extremely grateful for the ongoing cooperation and assistance from our partners in the charity sector including the many service providers and all those involved in the voluntary network.  

The DRHE also confirmed that the official winter (November 2017) count on rough sleeping identified a minimum of 184 persons sleeping rough across the Dublin region on the night of November 7th and into the morning of 8th November.

Winter Count 2017

The DRHE has been responsible for the delivery of rough sleeping counts in Dublin since 2007.  Of the 184 persons discovered sleeping rough:

  • 102 persons had previously accessed homeless services , 11 persons had not accessed such services, and of the remaining 71 there was insufficient details available to ascertain whether they had accessed services;  
  • 80 persons were Irish nationals, 53 were non-Irish nationals, and the nationality of 51 individuals could not be identified on the night.  
  • 70% of persons were discovered in Dublin Inner City (North and South), and the remaining 30% were found in the outskirts and in Fingal, South Dublin and Dun Laoghaire.  

Use of emergency accommodation on the night

  • There were 3,385 adults and 2,335 children in emergency accommodation beds on the night.
  • There were 50 adults accessing the Merchants Quay Night Service. This service provides a core response to persons who are rough sleeping and makes onward referrals to accommodation and support services including; health, addiction and social services.
  • 40 adults who contacted the Free-phone could not be accommodated on the night.
  • There were 3 empty beds in female services.

Commenting on this winter’s count, the DRHE said:

“We have developed a tried and tested methodology for the rough sleeping count.  It has delivered consecutive rough sleeper counts each spring and winter since 2007.  50 separate teams were deployed across set geographic areas of the city and county where rough sleeping is known to occur (as well as areas where no previous record exits).  The teams enumerated the details of all persons discovered sleeping rough at a time when no emergency accommodation provision is otherwise open for presentation.  The teams also met with the OPW’s Park Ranger Service in the Phoenix Park and St Stephen’s Green in order to ensure that persons rough sleeping in these areas are counted”

“The addition of 200+ new bed spaces alongside the expansion of Dublin’s Housing First Service ensures we can, and will, provide for everyone engaging in rough sleeping while allowing for additional overall capacity.”


Further information: Bevin Herbert, DRHE, (01) 222 6298 M: 086 822 7447


Core responses to persons who are rough sleeping

1.    Dublin’s Housing First Service – 01 671 2555 / 086 813 9015 (out of hours)

The four Dublin Local Authorities fund Dublin’s Housing First Service (operated by PMVT and Focus Ireland) to provide two teams that assertively engage with persons who are currently rough sleeping or who have had an extensive experience of rough sleeping across the Dublin region.

Team 1: The Intake Team work with persons who are currently rough sleeping on the street from 9am to 1am and who are in need of emergency accommodation and support.

Team 2: Intensive Case Management (ICM) Team works with persons who have an extensive experience of rough sleeping and who have a Housing First Tenancy (a self contained home provided within the community) with unlimited wrap around support services to assist persons to maintain their home. This is available on a 24 hour basis.  The Intake Team make direct referrals to Housing First tenancies for persons who have long-term experiences of rough sleeping.

As part of Rebuilding Ireland – Pillar 1 addressing homelessness, the target for the Dublin Housing First Service has been expanded to 300 tenancies which will specifically be for persons who are rough sleeping.

2.    Central Placement Service FREEPHONE (Dublin City Council Homeless Services)

The Central Placement Service is available during the day in Parkgate Hall, 6-9 Conyngham Road, Dublin 8 for individuals and families presenting as homeless in the Dublin City Council area. In addition, assessment and placement services are in place in the housing departments of South Dublin County Council, Fingal County Council and Dún Laoghaire-Rathdown County Council.

For access to emergency accommodation contact FREEPHONE 1800 707 707 from 2pm, this includes an out-of-hours service until 1am (including weekends)

3.    Merchants Quay Ireland Night Café  

The state-funded Night Café is open from 11pm to 7.30am and provides a range of services to people who are experiencing homelessness and drug use including;

•         Referral to support services for accommodation, treatment, health, social services

•         Brief interventions on addiction and mental health

•         Information and advice

•         Tea/coffee and a light meal

•         Showers/clothing

•          Breakfast service is available from 7.30am and users of Night Café will also be provided with breakfast

This service is operated through inward referral from the Central Placement Service and Housing First Intake Service Team.

Further links:


Number of Persons Rough Sleeping 2007 to 2017 -


If a member of the public would like to make Dublin’s Housing First Service aware of a person who may be sleeping rough in the Dublin region, who is in need of assistance, please contact us here