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App launched that allows public alert DRHE to homeless locations

Dublin People 21 Dec 2020

The Dublin Region Homeless Executive (DRHE) has launched a new free app which will enable members of the public to alert them to the location of anyone sleeping rough, so that outreach teams can make contact with them.

The DRHE is provided by Dublin City Council as the lead statutory local authority in the response to homelessness in Dublin – it also operates across South Dublin County Council, Fingal County Council and Dún Laoghaire- Rathdown County Council.

The DRHE says that while its members know from experience where most people sleep rough, dropping a location pin on the app will provide them with more accuracy and allow for them to reach people in need that much faster.

The app, called Dublin Rough Sleeper App, 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, on behalf of the DRHE, currently operate street outreach teams whose job it is to provide on-street support and to offer accommodation options for people sleeping rough.

“This app will enable us to respond in real time to alerts from members of the public,” said Eileen Gleeson, director at 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 with DRHE and Dublin Simon Community to create an app which provides real-time data to outreach teams and “provides a positive experience for users.”

It is hoped the app will be made available nationwide in future.

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.”

Ciaran King, Dublin outreach manager with Dublin Simon, said: “We would like to thank the public for submitting rough sleeper alerts to assist our teams and we want to assure them that every alert is followed up.

“We are familiar with the majority of individuals who are rough sleeping, their locations and behaviours from our interaction with them on the streets every day.”

“However, sometimes people move around 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.”

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