Preparations made to keep elderly and homeless safe during severe weather

by Quinn Kanner
One of Inner City Helping Homeless (ICHH)'s emergency outreach support vehicles that will be operating throughout the cold weather to help the homeless.

In light of the weather warning issued by Met Eireann, ALONE and Dublin City Council are asking people to check in on older community members to make sure they’re prepared for the cold.

“Cold temperatures can have a serious affect on many older people, in particular those living alone, those with health issues and those with limited mobility,” said Sean Moynihan, CEO of ALONE.

“5% of Irish people aged over 65 who lived alone were unable to keep their homes adequately warm in 2012. This figure jumped to 9.8% in 2013. Given that 50% of excess winter deaths experienced in Ireland can be linked to poor thermal efficiency in the dwellings, ALONE is urging older people to take extra care and encouraging those who are concerned about their own well-being during the cold weather to call for assistance and help if needed.”

The Department of Defence has tips for the elderly posted on their website winterready.ie, including specifics on fall prevention both indoors and outdoors:

  • Ensure you have sufficient supplies of food and prescription medicine and that you have enough fuel to maintain adequate heating in your house.
  • Ask relatives and neighbours for help if needed and keep a list of their phone numbers by your phone.
  • Avoid unnecessary travel, and if you go outside wear well-fitted shoes with non-slip soles.

The Dublin Regional Homeless Executive (DRHE) has also implemented contingency plans for the homeless during the weather warnings.

Additional placements for people sleeping rough are being provided across Dublin and can be accessed through a central placement service in Parkgate Hall.

Many temporary accommodations and one night only beds are providing 24/7 access, and the Housing First Street Intake Team is being doubled for the week to warn people of the weather conditions and transport them to available accommodations.

Inner City Helping Homeless (ICHH) also has a mobile outreach unit in the city to help people sleeping outside.

Fingal, South Dublin and Dun Laoghaire–Rathdown County Councils are also providing additional accommodations.

If you’re concerned about the well-being of elderly community members, call (01) 679 1032, and please report anyone sleeping outside to the DHRE online or to ICHH by calling (085) 838 9281.

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