New app allows public to alert outreach teams to rough sleepers

by Rachel Darcy

The Dublin Region Homeless Executive (DRHE) has launched a new free app that will allow the public to alert them to the location of anyone sleeping rough.

The new app is designed for the public to assist in getting outreach teams to reach those who are sleeping rough across the city. Up to now the only options for the public to get in contact with the outreach team were to call a phone number or use an online form.

While the teams know from experience where most people are sleeping, dropping a pin on the new Dublin Rough Sleeper App will mean greater accuracy when it comes to rough sleeper alerts from the public, enabling them to reach people in need faster.

By logging the location on the app, anyone can provide the outreach teams with an exact location of the person who is sleeping rough. Once the teams receive the alert, they can immediately go to the area and offer support to the person.

Dublin Simon Community currently operate street outreach teams, whose job it is to provide on-street support and to offer accommodation options for people sleeping rough.

These teams are working proactively on the streets, 365 days a year from early morning to late each night, engaging with people who are sleeping on the streets and helping them avail of emergency accommodation. 

“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 Street 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 developed for free 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 Community to create an innovative app which provides real-time data to outreach teams and provides a positive experience for users.

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