Rough sleepers across Belfast are receiving special packs to help them stay warm and dry, through the Public Health Agency’s (PHA) ‘Keep Warm’ scheme.
Clothing and other protective items are being distributed to organisations working directly with people who are sleeping rough across Belfast, so that they can provide a rapid response and help those most in need.
Dr Eddie Rooney, Chief Executive of the PHA, said: “The ‘Keep Warm’ scheme is crucial in providing people who are sleeping rough with the resources to try to stay warmer, as they are at greater risk from cold-related illnesses.
“Working in partnership with the Council for the Homeless in Northern Ireland has ensured that the immediate response that rough sleepers need is available, which will reduce the impact cold weather has on one of the most vulnerable groups in our society. Also, the collaboration with the outreach centres throughout Belfast is helping to extend this scheme to as many people as possible across the city.”
Sleeping bags, waterproof coats, woollen hats, gloves, thermal underwear, socks, jogging bottoms and rucksacks are being given out as part of the scheme in a bid to help protect people who are sleeping rough from the effects of cold weather.
Margaret Henry, Assistant Director at The Council for the Homeless Northern Ireland, added: “We are extremely grateful to the PHA for their generosity and support once again for rough sleepers and those who are working with them. It is extremely cold outside, particularly at night, and these items are essential to reduce the risk of hypothermia and other illnesses in vulnerable people who are sleeping on our streets.”
There are a limited number of ‘keep warm’ items which will be distributed through outreach services across Belfast: Homeplus in the Botanic area of south Belfast; the Welcome Centre in the St Peter’s area of west Belfast; Rosemount House in the Antrim Road area of north Belfast; and The Salvation Army Centenary House in central Belfast.
Public Health Agency