DRHE launches new app for public to alert teams to location of rough sleepers
Published on 21st December 2020
The Dublin Region Homeless Executive (DRHE) has launched a new free App, which enables members of the public to alert street outreach teams to the location of people sleeping rough, so they can make contact with them.
The DRHE and the Dublin Simon Community outreach service teams provide on street support and help secure accommodation for people sleeping rough. These teams are on the streets, 365 days a year from early morning to late each night, working proactively to engage with people sleeping rough and help them avail of emergency accommodation.
By simply logging the location on the App, anyone can provide the outreach teams with an exact location of a person who is sleeping rough. Once the teams receive the alert, they can immediately go to the area and offer advice and assistance to the person. Up to now the only options open to the public were to call a phone number or use an online form.
The outreach teams know from experience where many people are sleeping. However, dropping a pin on the new Dublin Rough Sleeper App will allow for greater accuracy when it comes to new alerts from the public, enabling outreach teams to reach people in need that much faster.
"We are proud of our fast response to alerts from the public and the deep knowledge and understanding we have of our clients, their locations and behaviours from our interaction with them on the streets every day,” said Ciaran King, of Dublin Simon. “However, sometimes people move for different reasons or new clients bed down on the streets for the first time. With collaboration from the public who are already an amazing support to our team, the geographical accuracy of this new App will help to cut down on time spent searching for clients on the streets, meaning that the people who urgently need our support will have rapid access to it."
“This App will enable us to respond in real time to alerts from members of the public,” said Eileen Gleeson, Director DRHE. “We are encouraging as many people as possible to download the App and to let us know about anyone they see sleeping rough. This will help our outreach teams to find the person and offer them support. With Christmas approaching and the coldest nights of the year upon us, the importance of enabling people to come into accommodation at night is critical.”
The App was initially developed by a team of Microsoft Ireland volunteers as part of the company’s annual Hackathon. Over the course of several months, the team worked closely with DRHE and Dublin Simon to create an innovative App which provides real-time data to outreach teams and a positive experience for users. If successful, coverage of the App may in future be extended beyond the Dublin Region to other locations nationwide.
Cathriona Hallahan, Managing Director, Microsoft Ireland said: “Microsoft is proud to be able to support the vital work of the DRHE and the Dublin Simon Community in protecting the most vulnerable in our society through the development of the Dublin Rough Sleeper App. This builds on the strong partnership we’ve forged with Dublin Simon as demand for their vital services grow. By coming together virtually as a team over several months and as part of our recent Hackathon, we were able to use the power of technology to help connect outreach teams with those needing emergency accommodation.”
The DRHE would also like to thank Dublin Simon, Ultan Technologies, Smart Dublin and Dublin City Council for their contributions to developing this application.
Click here to watch a video on the new app: https://youtu.be/Y6M5beQzSsI
Notes to the Editor:
This App is now available on both Apple and Android platforms, free of charge.
Microsoft Ireland is a long-standing partner of Dublin Simon, most recently providing over 40,000 meals to their service users and staff in the wake of the pandemic and supporting the organisation through volunteering, fundraising and skills sharing.