The SVP Limerick Drop-in Centre over the last decade and more has been dealing with significant numbers of individuals presenting daily, on average 80. It is a direct access facility which means that we can offer help with the minimum of waiting time. The statutory bodies, HSE and Local Authority have for years recognised the value of the SVP Drop-in Centre generally in the community of Limerick and in particular as part of the homeless sector response. While the Centre is not funded fully it does get significant grants from these bodies each year.
In response to Covid-19 we at the Drop-In Centre had to make changes to ensure we could continue to offer a much needed service as safely as possible. Unfortunately, it meant that the valuable work of 27 volunteers at the Centre had to be suspended for the duration of the shutdown. In December 2019 we entered into an SLA with the HSE and LCCC to offer extended opening hours in the evenings for a 6 month duration over the winter. On March 14, in consultation with the HSE we quickly redeployed those temporary staff to regular day work. This was significant for our ability to stay open.
As an important health and safety measure we then stopped allowing individuals presenting having access to the Centre. They now receive food at a station set up at the entrance to the building which allows for social distancing. There are 5 individuals known to us sleeping rough in Limerick at the moment. We are able to let them have showers and a change of clothes ensuring that when they individually leave that part of the premises receives a deep clean.
Upwards of 139 individuals have presented for help daily since the Covid-19 restrictions were announced nationally. Thanks to a kind benefactor we have been able to distribute 50 dinners daily. As a supplementary measure we are distributing approximately 30 food hampers among other food items daily. Our kind benefactor ensures us that the dinners will continue for the duration of the shutdown. As a staff we are happy to make a difference. These mitigating measures ensure that we can ameliorate the worst excesses of Covid-19 for a population who in normal times have little.
If you would like to support or sponsor this program please email Tom at email@example.com